Cecily Brown’s (London, 1969) paintings revisit some of the great moments of universal artistic tradition with references to and influences of well-known artists such as Francisco de Goya, Willem de Kooning, Philip Guston, and Francis Bacon. In this way, Brown shares with André Masson an interest in the ferocity of the sexual instinct and the tragedies inherent in nature as well as the representation of genitalia as natural ornaments. With an expressionistic appearance, they are pieces in which desire seems like something that is uncontrollable, or which has its own orders and laws. However, on other occasions Brown paints small animals or figures that appear to come from comics, where humour becomes the dominant tone. This mixture of pop with expressionism places the artist’s work in the realm of the fantastic. In Brown’s landscapes illusion disappears and there is no perspective: in them everything happens on the surface. It is a world made up of the history of painting, the indescribable engine of desire and artistic language itself, transformed into an authentic hedonist garden, in which images and brushstrokes merge without any hierarchical criteria. In the last ten years, Cecily Brown has exhibited her work at major galleries and museums in Europe and America.
This exhibition, organised by the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, is part of Espacio Uno’s programme and is composed of eight large oil paintings belonging to the artist’s last series. The paintings offer syncopated landscapes that seem to be built from fragments in motion. Thus, in Lagoon (2004), one can make out a lake between branches, flowers and bits of sky and mountains. In Ambush Makeover (2003) ambushed bodies under leaves and flowers are suggested. Brown paints female desire with absolute honesty, from abandonment to absolute control, from pleasure to laughter. The artist’s mastery lies in the ease with which her stroke, rapid and vigorous, oozes vitality and sensuality throughout her works. Brown’s artistic space is a kind of living organism, generated within certain parameters that allow improvisation and a monitoring of the impulses of instinct.