Over-layering figures- Continuing with the idea of capturing time within movement, i have been working on creating figures that subtly change position, keeping the adjustment as if leaving in the path of the movement. Acrylic paint and Charcoal were used to create the composition, and i found that charcoal was very successful in creating fluidity within the adjustments. I find something rather unnerving in the over layering of facial expressions. To further this notion i feel i could make the adjustments even more subtle so that it’s more difficult to comprehend the composition, almost like an optical illusion.
One of the first things i instantly began to do in relation to the brief ‘time’, was sketch parts of the body in a way that captured movement, exploring ways of conveying traces of movement or a path of movement which in effect would suggest a suspended action. The image of the closing palm also gives the suggestion of intentionally leaving behind traces of the adjustments.
Sophisticated and yet at the same time saturated in sexual innuendo. “Everything about her work erupts with sex, from the oily wet malleability of the surface to the soft porn pastel colours”. (Saatchi Gallery). The idea of conveying discomfort onto an audience has always enticed me, for I believe they are powerful emotions to transcend. Therefore from the moment I came across the works of Cecily Brown I was instantly captivated by her imagery. Browns paintings are so blatantly grotesque, not only in her subject matter but also in her choice and application of media, this in effect conjures movement and excitement within her composition. The artist shows great accomplishment in creating a visceral painting; her generous, almost aggressive application of oils succeeds in conveying a sense of a dripping canvas. This wet effect undeniably compliments, and even accentuates the sexual nature of her subject matter. When questioned about her affinity for oil, Brown explains that she finds it ‘sensual’ and finds that ‘it’s like skin…it has heft and it’s fleshy’. The technique of this artist is one in which I would most certainly want to embed into my own practice, the way she fearlessly layers her paint in thick swathes and rich colour through immediate, direct application of pigments and in effect figures begin to emerge. This appeals to me as it’s a much braver and less precious approach that screams with excitement.
There’s no denying that her confrontational composition of figures in openly sexual position creates an impact. When asked about her imagery Brown claims that she “Wanted to create drama through using figures” and found that “sex was the easiest way to do this without having the subjects killing each other”. I’ve become fascinated by this and I’m now inspired to concern myself further with the preconceptions that come with nudity within my work. Although I believe in the satisfaction of creating a piece so grotesque that the viewer questions whether or not they should be looking, I feel there is more to be said for creating an underlying sense of discomfort as it may have a much more sublime effect on the viewer. Like Cecily Browns’ canvases ‘Drip with sex’ I strive for my canvases to drip with discomfort and suggestion. On the other hand Browns pieces have been described by the Saatchi gallery as ‘a plot laid out in abstract’ and from the offset it appears as though the artist fully experiments with how far she can push imagery into abstraction yet keeping an essence of the figurative. Despite this however Cecily Brown claims that the term ‘Abstract-figurative’ painter doesn’t mean anything to her as she doesn’t bare the term in mind as she paints. Furthermore I still believe the artist achieves a mutual balance between the two terms which gives her work movement and drama.
Hard Fast and Beautiful is by far the piece that excites me the most. I find the work has a much more raw energy in comparison with others, almost reminiscent of an under painting with its wispy charcoal lines and white suggestive marks, almost primitive looking. The piece has been described as ‘The aftermath of two lovers rolling around on a canvas’ others have compared it to a ‘highly rendered fabrication of an Yves Klein fantasy dream’. Browns work is said to be heavily inspired by the classics, The Broad Art foundation claim that her paintings “recall the twisted bodies and forms of Titian or Rubens. And yet the Gagosian gallery find her work reminiscent of Willem De Koonings ‘muscular expressionism’. However despite her influences I believe critic Joanna Drucker captures the essence of Browns work in saying that her pieces “Flicker at the hallucinatory edge between figural representational and gestural abstract”. (Drucker, J.)
Saatchi Gallery (24/4/13) CECILY BROWN: CECILY BROWN EXHIBITION AT THE SAATCHI GALLERY. www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk (10/9/13)
Peck, D (September 14th 2012) ANOTHER: NEW YORK MINUTE- CECILY BROWN. www.anothermag.com (10/9/13)
Broad art foundation (8/9/13) THE BROAD ART FOUNDATION: CECILY BROWN. www.broadartfoundation.org/artists (11/9/13)
Magnuson, A. (7/9/13) GAGOSIAN GALLERY: CECILY BROWN. www.gagosian.com/artist/cecily-brown (12/9/13)