Expert Voices: Charlotte Van Dercook on Cecily Brown’s Eyes Wide Shut

New York | 16 November

Oscillating between figure, landscape, and abstraction, Eyes Wide Shut (2001) evinces Cecily Brown’s unparalleled ability to seemingly transform paint into flesh, seductively embedding the human form within a frenzied fragmented commentary on desire, life, and death. Painted in 2001, Eyes Wide Shut marks a critical breakthrough for Brown, fully articulating the erotically charged figural abstractions that characterize the artist’s work. The present work is a fusion of bodily tones in continual flux, alive with the erotic energy of Brown’s vivid color and carnal application, shifting restlessly between abstract and figurative modes.
Brown draws her title from a novella turned 1999 Stanley Kubrick film exploring the connection between the sensual and carnal and the anonymous. The title’s reference to paradoxical sight, to the refusal to acknowledge what is directly in plain view, sets up Eyes Wide Shut as a blurring together of subjective experience and the physical world.

Eyes Wide Shut will be offered as a part of the Now Evening Auction on 16 November at Sotheby’s New York.

More from Sotheby's

Stay informed with Sotheby’s top stories, videos, events & news.

Receive the best from Sotheby’s delivered to your inbox.

By subscribing you are agreeing to Sotheby’s Privacy Policy. You can unsubscribe from Sotheby’s emails at any time by clicking the “Manage your Subscriptions” link in any of your emails.