Rose Wylie: History Painting

Image Credit: Figure Head On Boat , 2017, Rose Wylie

The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art

01752 203434
[email protected]

Thursday 29 March 2018 – Wednesday 30 May 2018
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 9am - 5pm / Sat 10am - 1pm

As part of History Painting Wylie presents a cycle of new work about the Mayflower voyage, made between 2015–17 for this exhibition. These paintings draw on the artist’s memories of first learning about the pilgrims as a young child in the 1930s, and reflect on how interpretations of history change across the ages.

Rose Wylie is best known for creating colourful, large-scale, figurative paintings that are intelligent, funny, and quietly political. These are often  made from memory and draw on a wide range of cultural references from history, fashion, and Hollywood to mythology, news imagery, sports and literature. The common thread linking these fields is her interest in how images evolve and accumulate meaning, becoming familiar, iconic and  part of the narrative of art, popular culture and wider history.

The works selected for Plymouth (her first exhibition within the  South West) focus on Rose’s interests in film, fashion and history and respond to the context of the two galleries, their architecture, location and programmes. The domestic proportions of Plymouth Arts Centre’s
galleries precisely match the scale of the artist’s studio, while The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art is more recognisably a white cube. The way these spaces change our perceptions alludes to the gap between how artworks are perceived in the spaces of production and spaces of display.

Plymouth Arts Centre present Wylie’s new Mayflower paintings alongside themes the artist has painted for many years that resonate with Plymouth’s history, including the Tudor period, the Blitz, and as a seaside resort. There will also be a selection of Rose’s ‘film notes’ paintings in reference to Plymouth Arts Centre’s 70 year  history as a gallery/cinema. Ben Rivers’ film What Means Something (2015) reflects on his friendship with Rose, her work, and artistic processes they have in common. It will be shown as part of the exhibition.

At The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art, focus is given to the depiction of the female form, with a series of paintings (from 2002 to 2016) presenting pin-up girls, fashion models, sports players and a number of portraits and self-portraits. This exhibition will tour to Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange, 9 June-15 September

The exhibition includes a filmed interview between Rose and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director of Serpentine Galleries, made for her recent exhibition QUACK QUACK.

Rose Wylie is based in Kent, was born in 1934 and graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1981. In 2017 Rose’s exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery was widely acclaimed, and she has had solo exhibitions at Space K, Seoul, Chapter, Cardiff, and Turner Contemporary, Margate (all 2016); Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (2015); Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg, Germany (2014) and Tate Britain, London (2013). Rose Wylie is represented by David Zwirner, New York/London and Choi&Lager, Cologne/Seoul.


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Working towards a South West where talented artists thrive, and a resilient and connected visual arts ecology that inspires more engaged and diverse audiences to value and advocate for its work.

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