Cecily Brown

November 10, 2008 at 2:09 pm (Uncategorized)

Cecily Brown was born in London in 1969. As a child Cecily was heavily inspired by the work of Francis Bacon. Brown’s real father, David Sylvester, was a famous art critic and good friends with Bacon, and whilst growing up Sylvester took Cecily to see many exhibitions and even introduced her to Bacon. The strange thing was, that Sylvester was a man of whom she considered to be her best friend and Cecily did not discover her true parentage until she was 21.

For the past five years Cecily brown has been living and working in Manhattan. When she first arrived she was painting by day and waitressing by night just to earn enough money to get by, but now she is the best selling contemporary artist living today, each painting generating somewhere in the region of £70,000. Represented by the most prestigious private gallery in the world, the Gagosian, Brown still ponders over her life choices, wondering if she’d known Sylvester to be her real father sooner would she have rebelled against a career in art?

The only other career she might possibly have considered, she says jokingly, is as a singer in a rock’n’roll band. ‘I’m a real exhibitionist,’ she smiles. ‘I did karaoke for my birthday the other night and I thought it was the best thing to do on my birthday because I’d be able to hog the mike! Obviously, I had to let a few other people have a go, but I was on it for about three or four hours.’ She thinks about it and bursts out laughing. ‘I did think at moments the other night, “God, have I missed my calling?”‘ 🙂

Cecily’s paintings are like free flowing liquidized jigsaw puzzles, always with a few pieces incomplete, for your eye to solve. These pieces can be jagged and vicious or calm and smokey. Much of her early work contains a passionate sexual energy and the way in which she has applied the oil paint to represent the human form has created either solid, meaty, and succulent features or light airy washes that portray translucent ghost like embodiments. As Brown herself put it, “so that you might have a veil of paint that suggests some very delicate skin, but then I’ll want something very meaty and clogged next to it.”

What I like about Cecily Brown’s work is that she has achieved precision within complete madness. Her paintings are bursting with depth, energy and expression, yet each stroke of her brush seems planned. Her work is both seductive and gloomy, containing both sorrow and an appealing appetite.


This is my favourite Cecily Brown painting, titled ‘A girl'(?) I feel this very abstract piece represents the female anatomy perfectly!

Extremely evident is the focus on fleshy marks made and detail. The oil paint perfectly manipulating the eyes focus on the liquidation of this piece, which, contrasting with the angular, jagged brush strokes make this painting surreally wholesomely palatable.

The areas of white give form to this meaty mess, and this small blob of green mucus oozing from a small orifice in the centre of the painting is the focal point, and appears to have strong connotations with, …..well I’ll let you work that one out for yourself! 😉


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