Celebrated British painter Rose Wylie has been honored with an OBE in the Queen’s annual Birthday List. Established over a century ago, the prestigious award stands for Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, and rewards outstanding contributions to the nation in categories including the arts and sciences, charitable work, and public service. Wylie receives a medal in recognition of her unique artistic practice, which draws on cultural areas such as film, fashion, literature, mythology, the news, and people she meets to create colorful, exuberant compositions that often merge socio-political and autobiographical elements.
The past year has seen a number of critically acclaimed solo exhibitions of Wylie’s work. "The freedom and courage of Rose Wylie shows a way forward for painting in this century," read The Guardian’s review of Quack Quack at the Serpentine gallery in November. History Painting: Rose Wylie, which made its debut at Plymouth Arts Centre and The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art during Lolita’s House, the artist’s second solo exhibition at David Zwirner in London, has just opened at Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange in Cornwall. Marking the first-ever museum presentation of the artist’s work in Spain, Rose Wylie: Hullo, Hullo . . . is on view at the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo (CAC) in Málaga through September 9th. Wylie’s painting African Barber Shop Sign (2016) is included in the 250th Anniversary Summer Exhibition, which has just opened at The Royal Academy of Arts in London.
Image: Rose Wylie, 2017 (detail). Photo by Joe McGorty.
June 9–September 15, 2018
History Painting: Rose Wylie traveled to Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange in England following its debut presentation at Plymouth Arts Centre and The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art (March 29–May 30, 2018). The exhibition featured works dating from 2002 to 2017 by the British artist. On view was a recent series by Rose Wylie based on the historic voyage of the Mayflower, which carried Pilgrims from Plymouth, England, to the New World in 1620. The paintings, which were created from 2015 to 2017, draw on Wylie’s memories of studying the Pilgrims as a child in the 1930s, and considers the changing interpretations of history.
Among other works in the show were the large-scale painting Park Dogs & Air Raid (2017), first shown in the artist’s critically acclaimed solo exhibition Quack Quack at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London, in 2017. The painting relates both to Wylie’s own experiences in London during the Blitz of World War II and to the history of Plymouth, which suffered severe bomb damage in 1941. Ben Rivers’s film What Means Something (2015), a portrait of Wylie, was screened as part of the presentation. Also included were some of the artist’s Film Notes paintings, and a selection of works on paper.
History Painting: Rose Wylie was a long-term project for the exhibition’s curator, Ben Borthwick, who told Artlyst: "I have been talking to Rose about her work for over a decade . . . So when I started at Plymouth Arts Centre [as director] in 2014, this was one of the first exhibitions I commissioned. I knew Rose would be interested in Plymouth’s histories and myths and am delighted she has made a new cycle of paintings about the Mayflower to be shown with existing work on a range of themes that speak to Plymouth’s magnificent history and gritty present."
Wednesday, April 18, 5:30 PM
The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art
Join Melissa Blanchflower, curator of Rose Wylie's recent solo exhibition Quack Quack at the Serpentine Gallery in London, for a talk about the artist's work.
Thursday, May 17, 5:30 PM
Plymouth Arts Centre
Exhibition tour led by Ben Borthwick, artistic director and exhibition curator at Plymouth Art Centre, followed by a screening at 6:30 PM of two films chosen by Rose Wylie: Le Silence de la Mer (1949), and Sack Barrow (2011).
Saturday, June 16, and Sunday, June 17, 10 AM–4 PM
Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange
Join Rosanna Martin and painter Ben Sanderson for a Rose Wylie Clay Workshop.
Tuesday, August 7
Newly Filmhouse will present a special screening of Tarantino’s classic film Kill Bill.
Wednesday, September 12, 1 PM
St. Ives Arts Club
Ben Borthwick will give a talk as part of the St. Ives September Festival in which he will discuss the production of the exhibition and his conversations with Wylie over the past decade.
Join Rose Wylie and Melissa Blanchflower, curator of the artist’s critically acclaimed solo exhibition at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in 2017, for the finissage of Lolita’s House at David Zwirner London.
Blanchflower will lead a guided tour of this exhibition of exuberant new paintings and works on paper by the celebrated British artist. “Few painters are more arrestingly, pleasingly odd,” Michael Glover writes in The Independent, “this show proves, at a stroke, quite conclusively, that . . . the future belongs to those women who have lived long enough to deserve it.”
The evening will include the launch of a special limited-edition zine published by David Zwirner Books to accompany the show. Titled Lolita’s House, the zine features Wylie’s animated brushstrokes on every page.
May 4–September 9, 2018
Marking the first-ever museum exhibition of Rose Wylie’s work in Spain, Rose Wylie: Hullo, Hullo . . . at the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo (CAC) in Málaga presented twenty-nine paintings. The works ranged in date from 1992 to 2017, and included both single and multipart paintings, the largest of which, Yellow Strip (2006), unfolds across five panels. The show was curated by Fernando Francés, director of CAC Málaga.
The exhibition’s title came from a recent painting, Hullo, Hullo, Following-on After the News (2017), and evinces the verbal and visual cadence of Wylie’s work. Recent solo exhibitions, including Horse, Bird, Cat at David Zwirner London in 2016 and Quack Quack at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London, in 2017, share the same staccato directness. Discussing her choice of title for the Serpentine exhibition with the gallery’s Artistic Director, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Wylie explained, "It was Dada, it was irreverent, and I like irreverence. It’s got a certain rhythm to it, it repeats. . . . There’s no need for translation. . . . Quack Quack in fact is an echo of what I think paintings do and why they have superiority and priority over text."
This spirit of spontaneity and openness is clear in Wylie’s exuberant compositions, which are wittily observed and subtly sophisticated musings on the nature of visual representation itself. In the artist’s idiosyncratic approach, which draws imagery from film, fashion, literature, mythology, newspapers, and sports, The Guardian’s critic Jonathan Jones recognizes that Wylie creates with "total freedom from any law of god, man or the Royal Academy." Likening her to twentieth-century predecessors, such as Henri Rousseau and Florine Stettheimer, who found renewal "in the bright colours and crude shapes of an art that seems artless," Jones sees in Wylie’s work "a way forward for painting in this century."
The works shown at CAC Málaga draw on an array of sources, from the "ack ack" anti-aircraft guns she remembers hearing as a child in London during World War II, to museum visits, tennis matches, and the actor Nicole Kidman. Like the subjects that populated Lolita’s House, her recent solo exhibition at David Zwirner London, these eclectic compositions reflect Wylie’s fascination with memory and the associations that become attached to it over time.
November 30, 2017–February 11, 2018
"Rose Wylie is why we need artists" states Time Out London's review of Quack Quack, the artist's solo exhibition at the Serpentine. For Jonathan Jones writing in The Guardian, "The freedom and courage of Rose Wylie shows a way forward for painting in this century."
Quack Quack featured paintings and works on paper dating from the late 1990s to the present day, including new works that were being exhibited for the first time. The exhibition was curated by Melissa Blanchflower.
Wylie often works from memory, drawing on cultural areas such as film, fashion, literature, mythology, the news, and people she meets; her colorful, exuberant compositions frequently merge political, social, and autobiographical elements. Quack Quack included a 2017 series of paintings of which two works—Park Dogs & Air Raid and Park Duck (both 2017)—had never been shown before.
London's Kensington Gardens, where Wylie recalls seeing dogfights in the sky as a child during the Blitz (the artist's older brothers taught her to recognize different aircraft), are the subject of Park Dogs & Air Raid, a new four-canvas painting created specifically for the Serpentine exhibition.
A catalogue on the occasion of the exhibition was published by the Serpentine Galleries and Koenig books.
David Zwirner is pleased to announce that British painter Rose Wylie has joined the gallery. Wylie creates paintings and drawings that on first glance appear aesthetically simplistic, not seeming to align with any recognizable style or movement, but on closer inspection are revealed to be wittily observed and subtly sophisticated mediations on the nature of visual representation itself. The layers of newspaper that line her studio floor are a frequent source of material for the artist, as she encounters images by chance while working. Drawing from such wide-ranging cultural areas as film, fashion photography, literature, mythology, news images, sports, and individuals she meets in her day-to-day life, Wylie paints colorful and exuberant compositions that are uniquely recognizable. The artist has acknowledged her great admiration for Philip Guston, whose late paintings likewise make use of an idiosyncratic visual lexicon, the directness of cartoonish figures, and a flattened perspective, but simultaneously betray a deep awareness of art history and painterly conventions.
Rose Wylie (b. 1934) studied at Folkestone and Dover School of Art, London, and the Royal College of Art, London, from which she graduated in 1981. Her work has been the subject of renewed critical attention in recent years, including solo presentations at Space K, Seoul (2016); Chapter, Cardiff (2016); Turner Contemporary, Margate (2016); Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (2015); Städtische Galerie, Wolfsburg, Germany (2014); Tate Britain, London (2013); Haugar Museum, Tønsberg, Norway (2013); Philadelphia University of the Arts Gallery (2012); and Jerwood Gallery, Hastings (2012). The artist’s first exhibition at David Zwirner, London, Horse, Bird, Cat, was held in 2016, and in November 2017, Wylie will be the recipient of a major solo exhibition at Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London. In 2015, a painting by Wylie was included in the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition, for which she won the Charles Wollaston Award. Her work can be found in prominent collections throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia, including the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.; Space K, Seoul; Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg; and Tate Britain, London. In 2015, Wylie was elected a Senior Royal Academician. She lives and works in Kent, England.
Rose & Roy (2015) is a feature-length documentary by Adolfo Doring about Rose Wylie and her husband, Roy Oxlade, who met at art school in London in 1957. Filmed primarily in the couple’s rural English cottage where Wylie still has her home and studio, Rose & Roy explores their lives and work in 2014, the year Wylie was awarded the John Moores Painting Prize—once called "the Oscar of the British painting world." The documentary includes interviews with Wylie, Oxlade, and two of their children, and mentions exhibitions at Tate Britain (2013) and the then upcoming show at Jerwood Gallery in Hastings, England (2015). "She can turn knowledge and acute observation somehow into work which accepts those apparent facts, and yet then switches, through metaphor, into a new thing," Oxlade says of his wife’s paintings in the film.
The BBC has just released a new documentary titled Rose Wylie: This Rose Is Blooming. The hour-long program, which was filmed over a period of more than six months, includes in-depth interviews with the artist at her home, in her studio, at gallery openings, and elsewhere. Presented by Alan Yentob, the documentary is part of Imagine, the BBC’s popular series of arts documentaries that has previously featured Howard Hodgkin, Anish Kapoor, Cornelia Parker, and Rachel Whiteread. Wylie, whose work has drawn critical acclaim in solo exhibitions including Quack Quack at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in London this past year, has just been honored with an OBE in the Queen’s annual Birthday List in recognition of her unique artistic practice.
This Rose Is Blooming meets Wylie in her studio "to discover how her memories and experiences have helped mould the artist that she is today, and how she transforms the stuff of everyday experience into new and hitherto unseen painterly visions."
Wylie’s work is on view in solo exhibitions at CAC Málaga (through September 9), and Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange in Cornwall (through September 15). Her painting African Barber Shop Sign (2016) is included in the 250th Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in London (through August 19), and nearby Bond Street is adorned with an outdoor installation of decorative flags the artist created based on the paintings featured in Lolita’s House, her recent solo exhibition at David Zwirner London. In the second pairing in David Zwirner’s podcast, Dialogues, Wylie talks with actor Russell Tovey from BBC’s Being Human and HBO’s Looking.
In the UK, you can stream this new documentary here.