Coady Brown

I make my work in response to a lot of paintings of women by historical artists. ... I wondered who those women were and if they were being painted in that way because they were told or was it a relationship? What was that space? 

—  Coady Brown talking about her practice for Inertia's Mini Visit. 2018.

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Salty Sweet. 2019. Image from artist's website.

It is no coincidence that much of Coady Brown’s work is centered at night time. Throughout her adult life, she has been fascinated with nightlife and how it heightens people’s expectation for intimacy, self-permission and expression. As if to place David Attenborough on the dance floor, she perfectly captures what we do in the dark. Both in the frenetic energy and melancholia of promises made and broken, and in the dreamlike haze of nights blurred between experience and remembrance. 

In "Soften Up", we see Coady continuing to investigate representation of women beyond just being subjects. Through her body of work, we see them as figures both in the forefront that embody a range of emotional dexterity and at the same time in constant negotiation of space. Vibrantly textured clothes occupy the canvas almost to the brim, forcing the viewer to reckon with some figures while noticeably squeezing out others. Hands and feet are further pressed into view - grabbing, stepping, hugging, twirling, caressing each other as if to present a sign language of our wants and desires. Bodies are softened in a way that only intimacy can bring, while her use of light punctuates emotions on their faces to reveal further context. Every gesture starts to add another vignette to the narrative of what happened that night like a story you retell to friends for years to come.

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Caught. 2019. Image from artist website.

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