Cecily Brown’s show at Gagosian comes as a surprise from an artist famous for big canvases (and distended prices to match). Her latest works are small in size and number, and their formal range narrow almost to the point of repetitiveness. This restrained exhibition centres on one main triptych – a busy, bristling mass of vaguely organic forms (foliage or flesh) which initially calls to mind the slick distortions of James Rosenquist, as well as the biomorphic abstractions of Arshile Gorky. The painting abounds with flesh tones – reds and mauves and pinks – yet these seem oddly eviscerated. It’s as if once-fiery shades have faded, through long exposure to sunlight, to anodyne pastel hues.


James Cahill