Voice Choices

Dog of the Month: Cecily Brown

by

Often compared to De Kooning because of her splashy energy and elusive figures, Cecily Brown has filled Gagosian’s massive space with 39 canvases that might be termed Attention-Deficit Abstraction. Unlike the Dutch master’s sweeping contours and fleshy bulges of paint, Brown’s brushstrokes are disjointed smears that deaden any sense of movement. Depicting what seems to be plein-air cunnilingus, the three “Skull Diver” canvases (each about seven feet square) belabor the sexual vein that has lent Brown’s work a wan notoriety. The series features mushy heads bobbing between splayed legs, and while there’s a nicely foreshortened arm here or some thrumming fingers there, which hint at quivering ecstasy, the scattered background daubs congeal into a deadfall of turgid color. Smaller works prove even more inert. Rather than sharpening her all-over motifs, Brown’s smatterings of color feel random and clotted, more paint rag than painting.

Thu., Oct. 23, 10 a.m.; Fri., Oct. 24, 10 a.m.; Sat., Oct. 25, 10 a.m., 2008

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