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Cecily Brown

The Last Shipwreck (2018)

The London-born, New York-based Cecily Brown is best known for her large-scale paintings, whose heavily worked surfaces often build into maelstroms of gesture and color. Despite their size and assertiveness, there is something deeply precarious about how Brown’s paintings hold together, as if the entire composition were teetering on the edge of a knife, threatening to unravel and fall apart at any moment. How fitting, then, that Brown, a great admirer of French romantic tableaux, would turn her attention to the turbulent waters of classical shipwreck scenes; the sea a fitting analogy for the surface of a canvas, Brown’s brush its leery passenger across the tide.In her edition for "Texte zur Kunst"– a ditone print pulled from one of these epic shipwreck paintings – we are able to witness more closely how Brown’s colossal pictures also contain moments of doubt and reservation, with varying levels of intensity in the application of paint, vacillating somewhere between directness and diffidence. The ability to hold opposing forces together – to construct a composition like "The Last Shipwreck" out of such tensions and make the resulting picture shudder from within – is a quality, a success, really, that Brown shares with the American postwar generation of painters she so greatly admires. Concentrated in the intimate print, we are able to see more clearly how Brown builds the underlying structures of her pictures to achieve her trademark dramatic effects.

Ditone print, 52 x 50 cm, edition: 100 + 20 A.P.+ 2 P.P., numbered and signed on the back, € 490.- plus shipping.