Lush, vibrant, and richly allusive, Free Games for May is a masterful manipulation of body and landscape that evinces Cecily Brown’s commitment to wrestling her subjects free from their conventional contexts, creating paintings that fluctuate between perceptible and imperceptible form and blurring the boundaries between abstract and figurative painting. Brown cemented herself as part of a group of painters in New York reclaiming the figure within the avant-garde, co-opting and luxuriating in a dialogue with art historical antecedents like Willem de Kooning, Lucian Freud, and Peter Paul Rubens, and ushering in a new era for figurative painting alongside artists like John Currin and Lisa Yuskavage. Testament to the artist’s prominence and distinction, Brown is the subject of a major retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which opened in April of 2023. In Free Games for May, Brown deftly layers sumptuous passages of verdant green and saturated pinks that together crescendo in a burst of painterly energy.
Cecily Brown’s Free Games for May will be offered in Sotheby’s Mo Ostin Collection Evening Auction on 16 May at Sotheby’s New York as a part of the New York Sales presented in partnership with CELINE.