- Plymouth Arts Centre
- The Gallery
History Painting saw Wylie present a cycle of new work about the Mayflower voyage, made for this exhibition between 2015-17.
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 smart, 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 popular culture and wider history.
The works selected for Plymouth (her first exhibition within the South West) focused on Rose’s interests in film, fashion and history and responded 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 highlights the gap between how artworks are perceived in the spaces of production and spaces of display.
Plymouth Arts Centre presented Wylie’s new Mayflower paintings alongside themes the artist has painted for many years that are central to Plymouth’s history, including the Tudor period, the Blitz, and as a seaside resort. Also presented were 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) was shown as part of the exhibition.
At The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art, focus was 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 self-portraits.
A smaller version of this exhibition toured to Newlyn Art Gallery, 25 June - 10 October 2018.
With thanks to The Serpentine Galleries for their support in the development of this exhibition and for kindly loaning a filmed interview between the artist and Serpentine’s Artistic Director Hans Ulrich Obrist.
Ben Borthwick & Hannah Rose