This exhibition will be ‘the largest and most comprehensive retrospective of Paula Rego’s work to date’.
It tells the story of the remarkable life of Paula Rego through over 100 works featured at the exhibition, including collage, paintings, large-scale pastels, ink and pencil drawings, etchings and sculpture, dating back to her early work from the 1950s. All of which reveal the depth of influence her personal life had on her pieces, as well as other references such as comic strips, which all came to define her unique style of work.
Paula Rego, born in 1935, is a Portuguese-born visual artist, known for her prints and paintings which are based on storybooks. She was the first artist-in-residence at the National Gallery in London and was an exhibiting member of the London Group alongside David Hockney and Frank Auerbach. During this time, her style developed away from abstract art to representational, as she increasingly represented social struggle within her pieces.
Her earliest works were influenced by Surrealism, employing automatic drawing which attempts to allow the artist’s unconscious mind dictate the creation of the image. This abstract style was influenced by the contemporary avant-garde artistic circles of the 1960s. The change in her style, however, came in the 1990s during her residency at the National Gallery, where the clearer, more linear style of the ‘Old Masters’ collection typical of the National Gallery influenced her style. Her works came to depict clearly drawn, strong women in often disturbing situations.
Her style became revolutionary in the way she represents women with evident feminist undertones combined with the traditional folklores of her native Portugal. Rego has continuously and actively focussed on women’s rights in her work, using the theme of abortion as a focal point in many of her paintings. Look out for her acclaimed pieces which include include Dog Women and the Abortion series. This a unique opportunity to behold the full expanse of Rego’s work.
"Paula Rego b 1935 is an artist who is vividly expressive and imaginative in her use of colour deployed in the service of brilliantly choreographed compositions."
"Ignore the captions and open yourself to the magical unease, the voodoo and catharsis of Rego’s art."
"Still, even if, like me, you’re not Rego’s biggest fan I find her work, which relies upon literature, excessively illustrative and didactic , you must concede that this is an excellent exhibition when Tate decides to roll out the red carpet for an artist, it does so with aplomb."
"In every canvas, Rego combines personal experience and memory, satire and symbolism to evoke the anguish and rage, frustration and fear felt by those living under political or social oppression."