Our next Artist You Need To Know is Cecily Brown.
Cecily Brown (born 1969) is a British painter who currently lives and works in New York City. Brown’s painterly style displays the influence of a variety of contemporary painters to art historical references, blending both into something new. Some of her works are monumental and vibrant with a frenetic power that stuns the viewer, while others are almost minimal in their linear quality.
“The whole figurative / abstract thing is about not wanting to name something, not pin it down. I’ve never wanted to let go of the figure, but it keeps wanting to disappear. It’s always a fight to hold on.”
Cecily Brown was born and educated in England. She obtained a B-TEC Diploma in Art and Design from the Epsom School of Art (now part of the University for the Creative Arts), Surrey, England (1985–87), had drawing and printmaking classes at Morley College, London (1987–89), and earned a BA degree in Fine Arts from the Slade School of Art, London (1989–93). During the latter, Brown was an exchange student in New York City (1992). While obtaining her degrees, Brown also worked in an animation studio. She earned First Class Honours at the Slade and was the first-prize recipient in the National Competition for British Art Students. Her studies encompassed printmaking and draftsmanship, as well as painting.
She rose to prominence at the same time as the provocative Young British Artists, but is rarely associated with that movement, having intentionally kept her painted aesthetic somewhat separate from that group. She relocated to New York City in 1994, as she had signed with the prestigious Gagosian Gallery in that city.
“Painter Cecily Brown works at the intersection of figuration and abstraction: She fills her monumental canvases with intimations of body parts and virtuosic, gestural brushstrokes that resolve more or less clearly into art history–inspired scenes. Brown draws on a range of compositional tenets including the formal planes of Neoclassicism, the vigor of Abstract Expressionists such as Willem de Kooning, and the haunting, fractured forms of Francis Bacon. Her paintings become intense, kaleidoscopic evocations of atmosphere and bodily experience.” (from here)
Besides her primary focus upon painting, Brown also maintains a celebrated drawing practice.
Brown has an impressive exhibition record (a fuller accounting of her accomplishments on this front can be explored here). She has shown in numerous cities around the world, including New York, London, Hong Kong, and Berlin.
Her artwork can be found in the collections of the British Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Tate Modern, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Matan Uziel family collection, the Des Moines Art Center and the Museum der Moderne Salzburg, among others.
Brown is counted among the most expensive – in terms of private sales – of living female artists, and her work has sold for upwards of seven figures.
Since 2014, Brown has been serving on the Board of Directors of the Foundation for Contemporary Arts (FCA).
“I have always wanted to make paintings that are impossible to walk past, paintings that grab and hold your attention. The more you look at them, the more satisfying they become for the viewer. The more time you give to the painting, the more you get back.” (from here)
Cecily Brown’s site is here: and an interesting timeline of her career can be enjoyed here.