Currently at Maccarone Gallery are a set of intimately-sized canvases by painter Cecily Brown. Aggressively captivating beyond their small boarders, the artist’s works here ignite a series of personal experiences as viewers stand inches away from canvases no more than 18 inches in height or width. Organized by novelist and art writer Jim Lewis, The English Garden contains garden scenes rather than traditional landscapes. Sharp lines inside Brown’s expressionist marks create additional horizons that depict mysterious and often open-ended garden scenes.
Despite first impressions The English Garden is not a display of sketches, time reveals each as individual works, containing intimate elements that have little time inside larger scales. Labyrinths of meticulous lines showcase enormously cerebral characteristics of space and depth, inside a loosely applied, heavy sea of color interactions.
Made between 2005 -2014, concurrently with her more recognizable larger canvases, the works on display posses a unique point of reference on the act of painting, created with the wrists as opposed to the full body. The English Garden not only spotlights the major shifts present in her career (this is her first since parting ways with Gagosian Gallery), this show simultaneously exhibits the level of skill and dedication she has maintained towards her abstract, loose approach to image making. Exploring a certain state of mind rather than a result of outright physicality, these small works masterfully pose a similar full body motion present in her larger paintings.
Accompanying the show is The English Garden, a limited edition artists’ book of the same name, coauthored by both Lewis and Brown. Containing a tale of hallucinations as a young Alexander Pope scholar researches the gardens of a neglected English manor, Lewis incorporates some of Brown’s interests, including National Trust gardens, bunnies, and troubled paradises.
The show is up at Maccarone until June 20th.
Maccarone Gallery [Press Release]