press release

Lush surfaces, vivid color, and energetic brushwork characterize Brown’s large-scale canvases. Brown inhabits her torrid, atmospheric paintings with figures that swim amongst swells of color and gesture, advancing and receding into painterly abstraction. The traditions of painting and the human figure serve the artist as vehicles to explore the emotive and life-giving potential of the medium. With her various references to art history—from the 17th-century French classicism of Nicolas Poussin to the Baroque flamboyance of Peter Paul Rubens and the living gestures of Willem de Kooning, among other Abstract Expressionists——Brown reinvigorates 21st-century painting. Working alongside the traditions of the medium, and borrowing freely from them, Brown gives life and breath to her canvases. Her absorption of formerly male-dominated approaches to painting, her unapologetic infusion of a feminine viewpoint, and her ability to give form to basic human expressions set Brown’s art apart from her contemporaries and denote her contributions to the art of our time.

The Des Moines Art Center’s project will be accompanied by a substantial catalog with essays by Fleming; Linda Nochlin, author and critic; and Linda Norden, curator at the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University. This exhibition is organized by Jeff Fleming, director, and will travel to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, October 18, 2006 to January 15, 2007.

Funding for Cecily Brown is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Joan Mitchell Foundation, and David Kruidenier.


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Cecily Brown