press release

The New York based painter Cecily Brown (*1969 in London) has become well known for her expressive works, often depicting explicitly sexual content, that shift between figurative and abstract. Her new works featured in the exhibition Based on a True Story show a great emphasis on the development of complex and rich textures whose content can be read in multiple ways.

For Cecily Brown, abstraction and figuration are not two separate worlds, but interwoven facets of seeing. The works in the Hanover exhibition embody this oscillation between the appearance of the figure and the emergence of the painterly method in abstraction. The phrase "based on a true story" usually introduces films or novels drawn from "real life." As an exhibition title it raises the question whether the stories recounted by the paintings are true—but what is a "true" story, in fact?

Brown's work is firmly rooted in the tradition of European painting. She draws from a multitude of references such as the detailed depictions of hell by Hieronymus Bosch or Edgar Degas' succinct and withdrawn tension, the physical directness of Francis Bacon or Lucian Freud, or images fromStruwwelpeter, Alice in Wonderland as well as found photographs from magazines. Sometimes painted with great gestural vigor, sometimes in careful, selective contact with the canvas, Brown's works are a stirring celebration of painting. A cosmos of images, sounds and impressions is translated into paint upon the canvas—in the end, the true story lies in the moments of perception and the discoveries of shapes that come to form atmospheres and stories waiting to be told by the viewers upon confronting the works.

Cecily Brown
Based on a True Story