Cecily Brown at Gagosian

Contemporary and Old Art Reviews

Cecily Brown at Gagosian

Postby jasperjoffe » Sat Jun 11, 2011 2:08 pm


Surly gives an unusually hostile review for some reason
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Re: Cecily Brown at Gagosian

Postby CAP » Sun Jun 12, 2011 12:18 pm

I think it’s just the old mid-career artist backlash, really. Was Surly ever a fan? I can’t remember. But, undeniably, 10-12 years down the track, some of the thrill has gone, romance has settled into a working relationship, and Cec’s shortcomings – as with any artist – become clearer. Welcome to life in the slow lane. She got some big breaks early, now struggles to maintain momentum – the lot of the prodigy and pet.

Surly complains ‘What's really missing in her art is character, and for all the hectic painting, a sense of necessity’ but at the same time notes, ‘Her paintings are stuffed with squirming marks, flurries and squiffs of paint. Sometimes these riffs add up to a bit of a figure, a face or even a dog. Mostly they don't’. Well isn’t this her character, though? She is skittish; she does feign and shy from bold content, retreat into a thin and feeble field for composition, peter out and draw a blank, eventually shapes mostly as a follower, a solid exponent rather than pioneer. It might not be the character of a de Kooning or Gorky, not even a Kippenberger or Sue Williams, but she is the persistent trier, the dogged smearer and ticker. You certainly know what she’s like, from her surfaces. There’s something there, if not enough for the Searly one.

Does this make her anymore feminine or feminist? Tact suggests we don’t go there. Suffice to say, art needs its followers, it’s strugglers and failers, while they can signal clearly, stumble at the crossroads and believe they’re sinkin’ down….

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