Cecily Brown and De Kooning
Cecily Brown / Skulldiver IV / 2006-2007 / Oil on linen / 85 x 89 inches (215.9 x 226.1 cm) / gagosian.com
Willem de Kooning. (American, born the Netherlands. 1904-1997). Woman, I. 1950-52. Oil on canvas, 6′ 3 7/8″ x 58″ (192.7 x 147.3 cm). Purchase. © 2008 The Willem de Kooning Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. moma.org
So I’ve been thinking this week about these two paintings and painters, specifically about how they develop their forms and the space of the paintings. If we look first at Skulldiver IV we see that the figural elements are drawn and painted to develop a sense of volume. The legs and arms are cylindrical, in fact, the forshortening on her arm reminds me of the outstretched arms of the figure in Caravaggio’s Supper at Emmaeus that wants to reach out of the canvas. In the same way, the figure in Skulldiver IV nearly wants to fall out of the bottom of the canvas on to the floor of the gallery. This is important because it functions to draw the viewer into the scene as a voyeur or participant standing in the room with the copulating figures.
More to come…Tags: woman I, museum of modern art, abstract expressionism, Gagosian, Emmaeus, Woman