Cecily Brown: Shipwrecks

A small reproduction of Christ Asleep During the Tempest (c.1853) by Eugene Delacroix, and its resonances with the present-day migrant crisis, prompted the earliest of Cecily Brown’s Shipwreck drawings. The drawings address the theme of disasters at sea and their treatments by Old Masters. The drawings deconstruct their sources by scrutinising different scenes within the works on which they are based, often cropping to isolate certain details, and highlighting rhythmic passages of line and form. Some remain relatively empty, others dreadfully full, while one stops abruptly midway along the boat’s hull. Among the mass of tangled human forms, our eyes dart around in search of their own refuge, settling on the curved perimeter of the boat’s bow and keel or the large single oar. Meanwhile, Brown’s vast paintings move between the ephemeral and corporeal, the subject of the shipwreck a perfect ground for both.

Brown’s works in the exhibition will be complemented by several Romantic shipwreck paintings, as well as Martin Kippenberger’s studies of Theodore Gericault’s infamous 1819 painting The Raft of the Medusa.

Cecily Brown was born in London in 1969, and now lives and works in New York. Solo exhibitions include: We Didn’t Mean To Go To Sea, Thomas Dane Gallery, Naples, Italy (2019); Cecily Brown, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humblebaek, Denmark (2018); Triumph of the Vanities II, The Metropolitan Opera House, New York (2018); If Paradise Were Half as Nice, Instituto Tomie Ohtake, Sao Paulo; travelling to: Museo Oscar Niemeyer, Curitiba, Brazil; The Iberê Camargo Foundation, Porto Alegre, Brazil (2018); Cecily Brown: Rehearsal, MCA Santa Barbara, CA (2018); Cecily Brown: Shipwreck Drawings, the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, England (2017); Cecily Brown: Rehearsal, The Drawing Center, New York NY (2017); Madrepora, Thomas Dane Gallery, London, England (2017). Public collections include Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York NY; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York NY; Tate, London, England; The British Museum, London, England.

Cover image: Cecily Brown, Untitled (Shipwreck), 2016, gouache, watercolour, charcoal on paper © The Artist, courtesy of Thomas Dane Gallery

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