Skip to main content

Cecily Brown

September 17 – October 30, 2021
Download Press Release
Gladstone Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new works by Cecily Brown, her first solo show in Belgium and the gallery’s first exhibition with the artist. Taking inspiration from pronkstilleven, a 17th-century Flemish style of still-life painting, Brown presents a series of drawings, pastels, and watercolors that celebrate a local art historical tradition through her singular and multifaceted approach to artmaking.

Typically comprised of fruits, vegetables, game, flowers, and other household objects, pronkstilleven paintings were meant to signify the wealth and excessive abundance of the aristocratic class during the 1600s. Frans Snyders, an early and influential figure from this artistic movement, excelled at creating these hyperrealist, ornate settings. Similar to Brown’s larger-scale paintings, the pastels in this show take motifs from existing imagery, primarily the still life paintings of Snyders, which she transforms into entirely new works that admiringly riff off of the preceding visual material. Drawing is an integral yet lesser known component of her work, which has recently been the subject of public and museum exhibitions. Unlike the 19th-century practice of creating esquisses, or preparatory drawings and oil sketches for larger paintings, Brown’s drawings on paper are finished works unto themselves, and provide striking insights into her intuitive artmaking process. The artist notes that in order to learn an image, she takes photographs and images of paintings and copies them, however, while employing the visual language she has developed throughout her career.