Cecily Brown - The Whitworth

Cecily Brown- The Whitworth, Manchester - 17 Nov -15th March



The current situations regarding hostile climates and causing people to become migrants, is one we are all familiar with. An abundant of these stories being brushed aside and becoming the norm, are we now becoming complacent? lacking care for these human beings who are literally escaping death. Cecily Brown's simple artworks capture the raw energy of 'Wrecked ships and their passengers' - the events modern refugees have to endure, life threatening boat journeys on unpredictable waters.
Re-working classic sources such as prints by William Hogarth, Brown's small studies rehears the original source, exploring composition both as a whole impression and concentrating on fragments, drawing attraction to particular harrowing details. By doing this Brown is looking for the attention of both the viewer and artist. The rawness of these pieces were the most striking, bold charcoal lines cutting through washes of colour. Bodies intertwining and becoming one form presents a feeling of isolation and loss. The collection of pieces brings you facepalming the current events, similarly like the paintings Brown was inspired by; Hogarth, Delacroix and most notably 'The raft of Medusa' by Théodore Géricault, as seen here in a sketch for this particular old master painting, a noticeable likeness of minimal contact with the paper:  

Géricault's Study for "The Raft of the Medusa", pen and brown ink, 17.6 cm × 24.5 cm, Musee des Beaux-ArtsLille, France

The exhibit on a whole is an emotional venture, but one I was glad to be led through. It created another avenue for awareness of these topics in an eloquent manner, the pieces are beautifully composed and have a magnitude of power. Its an exhibit that will linger long after you have left.