This small-scale triptych demonstrates Cecily Brown’s characteristic use of highly expressionistic and densely layered brushstrokes that tend to blur distinctions between the representational and the abstract. Initially the painting appears devoid of recognizable subject matter, yet closer inspection reveals hints of bodily fragments entangled among lushly-rendered landscapes. There is a shared materiality between flesh and paint, which Brown suggestively exploits for both optic and erotic charge. Like the title, Fair of Face, Full of Woe (2008), which references an English fortunetelling nursery rhyme, the painting exists in constant flux, it’s visual fate determined by each new viewer.
Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan.