08/07/2021
Reviews
Nathalie Brough
Paula Rego | Tate Britain
Paula Rego The Artist in Her Studio 1993 Leeds Museums and Galleries (Leeds Art Gallery) U.K. / Bridgeman Images © Paula Rego
Paula Rego The Artist in Her Studio 1993 Leeds Museums and Galleries (Leeds Art Gallery) U.K. / Bridgeman Images © Paula Rego

Nathalie Brough

Spread across eleven rooms of what is the UK's largest and most comprehensive retrospective of Paula Rego’s work to date, women crawl on all fours while animals perch with human-like qualities, narrating stories of love, lust and torment. The exhibition consists of collage, paintings, large-scale pastels, ink drawings and etchings spanning seven decades of Rego’s remarkable artistic career, from early work of the 1950s in which Rego began exploring personal and social struggles, to later works of richly layered, staged scenes.

Rego’s raw emotions and life story unfold room by room through a carefully curated chronological survey of her work, highlighting the socio-political context in which they are rooted. After leaving her native Lisbon as a child to escape the conservative dictatorship of António de Oliveira Salazar, Rego took refuge in London, where she later completed her studies at Slade School of Fine Art. It is here where she met Victor Willing, her tutor, lover and the person we see appear and reappear in Rego’s paintings; twice in one scene embracing different lovers or embodied as a submissive dog. Rego’s rage and anger in response to the repression of Salazar’s facist regime remained instilled, resulting in an explosion of dynamic, satirical collage and acrylic paintings seen among her early works.

Paula Rego, The Dance 1988. Tate. © Paula Rego
View fullsizePaula Rego, The Dance 1988. Tate. © Paula Rego

Although London is the city that she has lived in and called home for most of her life, it wasn’t until in her early fifties when Rego began to gain recognition in Britain, according to her son, Nick Willing, who represented her at the opening. After initially rejecting the invitation, opposed to its male-dominated collection, Rego became the first artist-in-residence at the National Gallery, London. She then went on to subvert the work of male artists, as seen most notably in Rego’s reworking of Hogarth’s Marriage à la Mode, replacing the setting with mid-twentieth-century Portugal and simultaneously reversing gender and social status.

Paula Rego’s Love, 1995 (Photo: Paula Rego/Private Collection, London)
View fullsizePaula Rego’s Love, 1995 (Photo: Paula Rego/Private Collection, London)

There are flashes of comic strips, folk tales, visual operas, anthropomorphic forms offering spears to a spewing monkey in a weightless disorder. A jumble of allegories and symbols interwoven with figurative scenes, largely a result of Rego’s Jungian analysis therapy that lasted forty years. The beautifully literary-rich chaos settles as we are then presented with gritty scenes of female experience. Women croutch, kneel, claw and crawl in pain in a gripping series of work confronting issues of abuse, traficking and female genital mutilation. Rego adopts a new process, scratching in energetic marks with oil pastel. She says compared to a brush, ‘the stick is fiercer, more aggressive’. The result is fleshy and harrowingly real.

A detail from Cast of Characters from Snow White, 1996 (Paula Rego)
View fullsizeA detail from Cast of Characters from Snow White, 1996 (Paula Rego)

Storytelling is at the core of Rego’s practice. Her later work sees her reference handmade props and puppet-like protagonists in order to explore complex emotions and ideas. An example is the wonderfully absurd and solemn pastel triptych, The Pillowman, inspired by Martin McDonagh's play. The flaccid mass of contorted tights and stuffing reclines, representing her adored father, embraced lovingly by a girl while two onlookers, a mother and her child, sit among a surreal mise-en-scène of sand, sea, dolls and a crucifix.

It is difficult to pin down Rego’s practice or to fit her neatly in a box. The show continuously builds momentum as we are taken through various stages of her life and imagination. Whatever predetermined perceptions there may be regarding Paula Rego’s work, this retrospective is sure to embark you on a trip to the unexpected leaving you shocked, engrossed and at times desperately uneasy.

Find out more about the exhibition here.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
08/07/2021
Reviews
Nathalie Brough
Paula Rego | Tate Britain
Paula Rego The Artist in Her Studio 1993 Leeds Museums and Galleries (Leeds Art Gallery) U.K. / Bridgeman Images © Paula Rego
Paula Rego The Artist in Her Studio 1993 Leeds Museums and Galleries (Leeds Art Gallery) U.K. / Bridgeman Images © Paula Rego

Nathalie Brough

Spread across eleven rooms of what is the UK's largest and most comprehensive retrospective of Paula Rego’s work to date, women crawl on all fours while animals perch with human-like qualities, narrating stories of love, lust and torment. The exhibition consists of collage, paintings, large-scale pastels, ink drawings and etchings spanning seven decades of Rego’s remarkable artistic career, from early work of the 1950s in which Rego began exploring personal and social struggles, to later works of richly layered, staged scenes.

Rego’s raw emotions and life story unfold room by room through a carefully curated chronological survey of her work, highlighting the socio-political context in which they are rooted. After leaving her native Lisbon as a child to escape the conservative dictatorship of António de Oliveira Salazar, Rego took refuge in London, where she later completed her studies at Slade School of Fine Art. It is here where she met Victor Willing, her tutor, lover and the person we see appear and reappear in Rego’s paintings; twice in one scene embracing different lovers or embodied as a submissive dog. Rego’s rage and anger in response to the repression of Salazar’s facist regime remained instilled, resulting in an explosion of dynamic, satirical collage and acrylic paintings seen among her early works.

Paula Rego, The Dance 1988. Tate. © Paula Rego
View fullsizePaula Rego, The Dance 1988. Tate. © Paula Rego

Although London is the city that she has lived in and called home for most of her life, it wasn’t until in her early fifties when Rego began to gain recognition in Britain, according to her son, Nick Willing, who represented her at the opening. After initially rejecting the invitation, opposed to its male-dominated collection, Rego became the first artist-in-residence at the National Gallery, London. She then went on to subvert the work of male artists, as seen most notably in Rego’s reworking of Hogarth’s Marriage à la Mode, replacing the setting with mid-twentieth-century Portugal and simultaneously reversing gender and social status.

Paula Rego’s Love, 1995 (Photo: Paula Rego/Private Collection, London)
View fullsizePaula Rego’s Love, 1995 (Photo: Paula Rego/Private Collection, London)

There are flashes of comic strips, folk tales, visual operas, anthropomorphic forms offering spears to a spewing monkey in a weightless disorder. A jumble of allegories and symbols interwoven with figurative scenes, largely a result of Rego’s Jungian analysis therapy that lasted forty years. The beautifully literary-rich chaos settles as we are then presented with gritty scenes of female experience. Women croutch, kneel, claw and crawl in pain in a gripping series of work confronting issues of abuse, traficking and female genital mutilation. Rego adopts a new process, scratching in energetic marks with oil pastel. She says compared to a brush, ‘the stick is fiercer, more aggressive’. The result is fleshy and harrowingly real.

A detail from Cast of Characters from Snow White, 1996 (Paula Rego)
View fullsizeA detail from Cast of Characters from Snow White, 1996 (Paula Rego)

Storytelling is at the core of Rego’s practice. Her later work sees her reference handmade props and puppet-like protagonists in order to explore complex emotions and ideas. An example is the wonderfully absurd and solemn pastel triptych, The Pillowman, inspired by Martin McDonagh's play. The flaccid mass of contorted tights and stuffing reclines, representing her adored father, embraced lovingly by a girl while two onlookers, a mother and her child, sit among a surreal mise-en-scène of sand, sea, dolls and a crucifix.

It is difficult to pin down Rego’s practice or to fit her neatly in a box. The show continuously builds momentum as we are taken through various stages of her life and imagination. Whatever predetermined perceptions there may be regarding Paula Rego’s work, this retrospective is sure to embark you on a trip to the unexpected leaving you shocked, engrossed and at times desperately uneasy.

Find out more about the exhibition here.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
08/07/2021
Reviews
Nathalie Brough
Paula Rego | Tate Britain
Paula Rego The Artist in Her Studio 1993 Leeds Museums and Galleries (Leeds Art Gallery) U.K. / Bridgeman Images © Paula Rego
Paula Rego The Artist in Her Studio 1993 Leeds Museums and Galleries (Leeds Art Gallery) U.K. / Bridgeman Images © Paula Rego

Nathalie Brough

Spread across eleven rooms of what is the UK's largest and most comprehensive retrospective of Paula Rego’s work to date, women crawl on all fours while animals perch with human-like qualities, narrating stories of love, lust and torment. The exhibition consists of collage, paintings, large-scale pastels, ink drawings and etchings spanning seven decades of Rego’s remarkable artistic career, from early work of the 1950s in which Rego began exploring personal and social struggles, to later works of richly layered, staged scenes.

Rego’s raw emotions and life story unfold room by room through a carefully curated chronological survey of her work, highlighting the socio-political context in which they are rooted. After leaving her native Lisbon as a child to escape the conservative dictatorship of António de Oliveira Salazar, Rego took refuge in London, where she later completed her studies at Slade School of Fine Art. It is here where she met Victor Willing, her tutor, lover and the person we see appear and reappear in Rego’s paintings; twice in one scene embracing different lovers or embodied as a submissive dog. Rego’s rage and anger in response to the repression of Salazar’s facist regime remained instilled, resulting in an explosion of dynamic, satirical collage and acrylic paintings seen among her early works.

Paula Rego, The Dance 1988. Tate. © Paula Rego
View fullsizePaula Rego, The Dance 1988. Tate. © Paula Rego

Although London is the city that she has lived in and called home for most of her life, it wasn’t until in her early fifties when Rego began to gain recognition in Britain, according to her son, Nick Willing, who represented her at the opening. After initially rejecting the invitation, opposed to its male-dominated collection, Rego became the first artist-in-residence at the National Gallery, London. She then went on to subvert the work of male artists, as seen most notably in Rego’s reworking of Hogarth’s Marriage à la Mode, replacing the setting with mid-twentieth-century Portugal and simultaneously reversing gender and social status.

Paula Rego’s Love, 1995 (Photo: Paula Rego/Private Collection, London)
View fullsizePaula Rego’s Love, 1995 (Photo: Paula Rego/Private Collection, London)

There are flashes of comic strips, folk tales, visual operas, anthropomorphic forms offering spears to a spewing monkey in a weightless disorder. A jumble of allegories and symbols interwoven with figurative scenes, largely a result of Rego’s Jungian analysis therapy that lasted forty years. The beautifully literary-rich chaos settles as we are then presented with gritty scenes of female experience. Women croutch, kneel, claw and crawl in pain in a gripping series of work confronting issues of abuse, traficking and female genital mutilation. Rego adopts a new process, scratching in energetic marks with oil pastel. She says compared to a brush, ‘the stick is fiercer, more aggressive’. The result is fleshy and harrowingly real.

A detail from Cast of Characters from Snow White, 1996 (Paula Rego)
View fullsizeA detail from Cast of Characters from Snow White, 1996 (Paula Rego)

Storytelling is at the core of Rego’s practice. Her later work sees her reference handmade props and puppet-like protagonists in order to explore complex emotions and ideas. An example is the wonderfully absurd and solemn pastel triptych, The Pillowman, inspired by Martin McDonagh's play. The flaccid mass of contorted tights and stuffing reclines, representing her adored father, embraced lovingly by a girl while two onlookers, a mother and her child, sit among a surreal mise-en-scène of sand, sea, dolls and a crucifix.

It is difficult to pin down Rego’s practice or to fit her neatly in a box. The show continuously builds momentum as we are taken through various stages of her life and imagination. Whatever predetermined perceptions there may be regarding Paula Rego’s work, this retrospective is sure to embark you on a trip to the unexpected leaving you shocked, engrossed and at times desperately uneasy.

Find out more about the exhibition here.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
08/07/2021
Reviews
Nathalie Brough
Paula Rego | Tate Britain
Paula Rego The Artist in Her Studio 1993 Leeds Museums and Galleries (Leeds Art Gallery) U.K. / Bridgeman Images © Paula Rego
Paula Rego The Artist in Her Studio 1993 Leeds Museums and Galleries (Leeds Art Gallery) U.K. / Bridgeman Images © Paula Rego

Nathalie Brough

Spread across eleven rooms of what is the UK's largest and most comprehensive retrospective of Paula Rego’s work to date, women crawl on all fours while animals perch with human-like qualities, narrating stories of love, lust and torment. The exhibition consists of collage, paintings, large-scale pastels, ink drawings and etchings spanning seven decades of Rego’s remarkable artistic career, from early work of the 1950s in which Rego began exploring personal and social struggles, to later works of richly layered, staged scenes.

Rego’s raw emotions and life story unfold room by room through a carefully curated chronological survey of her work, highlighting the socio-political context in which they are rooted. After leaving her native Lisbon as a child to escape the conservative dictatorship of António de Oliveira Salazar, Rego took refuge in London, where she later completed her studies at Slade School of Fine Art. It is here where she met Victor Willing, her tutor, lover and the person we see appear and reappear in Rego’s paintings; twice in one scene embracing different lovers or embodied as a submissive dog. Rego’s rage and anger in response to the repression of Salazar’s facist regime remained instilled, resulting in an explosion of dynamic, satirical collage and acrylic paintings seen among her early works.

Paula Rego, The Dance 1988. Tate. © Paula Rego
View fullsizePaula Rego, The Dance 1988. Tate. © Paula Rego

Although London is the city that she has lived in and called home for most of her life, it wasn’t until in her early fifties when Rego began to gain recognition in Britain, according to her son, Nick Willing, who represented her at the opening. After initially rejecting the invitation, opposed to its male-dominated collection, Rego became the first artist-in-residence at the National Gallery, London. She then went on to subvert the work of male artists, as seen most notably in Rego’s reworking of Hogarth’s Marriage à la Mode, replacing the setting with mid-twentieth-century Portugal and simultaneously reversing gender and social status.

Paula Rego’s Love, 1995 (Photo: Paula Rego/Private Collection, London)
View fullsizePaula Rego’s Love, 1995 (Photo: Paula Rego/Private Collection, London)

There are flashes of comic strips, folk tales, visual operas, anthropomorphic forms offering spears to a spewing monkey in a weightless disorder. A jumble of allegories and symbols interwoven with figurative scenes, largely a result of Rego’s Jungian analysis therapy that lasted forty years. The beautifully literary-rich chaos settles as we are then presented with gritty scenes of female experience. Women croutch, kneel, claw and crawl in pain in a gripping series of work confronting issues of abuse, traficking and female genital mutilation. Rego adopts a new process, scratching in energetic marks with oil pastel. She says compared to a brush, ‘the stick is fiercer, more aggressive’. The result is fleshy and harrowingly real.

A detail from Cast of Characters from Snow White, 1996 (Paula Rego)
View fullsizeA detail from Cast of Characters from Snow White, 1996 (Paula Rego)

Storytelling is at the core of Rego’s practice. Her later work sees her reference handmade props and puppet-like protagonists in order to explore complex emotions and ideas. An example is the wonderfully absurd and solemn pastel triptych, The Pillowman, inspired by Martin McDonagh's play. The flaccid mass of contorted tights and stuffing reclines, representing her adored father, embraced lovingly by a girl while two onlookers, a mother and her child, sit among a surreal mise-en-scène of sand, sea, dolls and a crucifix.

It is difficult to pin down Rego’s practice or to fit her neatly in a box. The show continuously builds momentum as we are taken through various stages of her life and imagination. Whatever predetermined perceptions there may be regarding Paula Rego’s work, this retrospective is sure to embark you on a trip to the unexpected leaving you shocked, engrossed and at times desperately uneasy.

Find out more about the exhibition here.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
08/07/2021
Reviews
Nathalie Brough
Paula Rego | Tate Britain
Paula Rego The Artist in Her Studio 1993 Leeds Museums and Galleries (Leeds Art Gallery) U.K. / Bridgeman Images © Paula Rego
Paula Rego The Artist in Her Studio 1993 Leeds Museums and Galleries (Leeds Art Gallery) U.K. / Bridgeman Images © Paula Rego

Nathalie Brough

Spread across eleven rooms of what is the UK's largest and most comprehensive retrospective of Paula Rego’s work to date, women crawl on all fours while animals perch with human-like qualities, narrating stories of love, lust and torment. The exhibition consists of collage, paintings, large-scale pastels, ink drawings and etchings spanning seven decades of Rego’s remarkable artistic career, from early work of the 1950s in which Rego began exploring personal and social struggles, to later works of richly layered, staged scenes.

Rego’s raw emotions and life story unfold room by room through a carefully curated chronological survey of her work, highlighting the socio-political context in which they are rooted. After leaving her native Lisbon as a child to escape the conservative dictatorship of António de Oliveira Salazar, Rego took refuge in London, where she later completed her studies at Slade School of Fine Art. It is here where she met Victor Willing, her tutor, lover and the person we see appear and reappear in Rego’s paintings; twice in one scene embracing different lovers or embodied as a submissive dog. Rego’s rage and anger in response to the repression of Salazar’s facist regime remained instilled, resulting in an explosion of dynamic, satirical collage and acrylic paintings seen among her early works.

Paula Rego, The Dance 1988. Tate. © Paula Rego
View fullsizePaula Rego, The Dance 1988. Tate. © Paula Rego

Although London is the city that she has lived in and called home for most of her life, it wasn’t until in her early fifties when Rego began to gain recognition in Britain, according to her son, Nick Willing, who represented her at the opening. After initially rejecting the invitation, opposed to its male-dominated collection, Rego became the first artist-in-residence at the National Gallery, London. She then went on to subvert the work of male artists, as seen most notably in Rego’s reworking of Hogarth’s Marriage à la Mode, replacing the setting with mid-twentieth-century Portugal and simultaneously reversing gender and social status.

Paula Rego’s Love, 1995 (Photo: Paula Rego/Private Collection, London)
View fullsizePaula Rego’s Love, 1995 (Photo: Paula Rego/Private Collection, London)

There are flashes of comic strips, folk tales, visual operas, anthropomorphic forms offering spears to a spewing monkey in a weightless disorder. A jumble of allegories and symbols interwoven with figurative scenes, largely a result of Rego’s Jungian analysis therapy that lasted forty years. The beautifully literary-rich chaos settles as we are then presented with gritty scenes of female experience. Women croutch, kneel, claw and crawl in pain in a gripping series of work confronting issues of abuse, traficking and female genital mutilation. Rego adopts a new process, scratching in energetic marks with oil pastel. She says compared to a brush, ‘the stick is fiercer, more aggressive’. The result is fleshy and harrowingly real.

A detail from Cast of Characters from Snow White, 1996 (Paula Rego)
View fullsizeA detail from Cast of Characters from Snow White, 1996 (Paula Rego)

Storytelling is at the core of Rego’s practice. Her later work sees her reference handmade props and puppet-like protagonists in order to explore complex emotions and ideas. An example is the wonderfully absurd and solemn pastel triptych, The Pillowman, inspired by Martin McDonagh's play. The flaccid mass of contorted tights and stuffing reclines, representing her adored father, embraced lovingly by a girl while two onlookers, a mother and her child, sit among a surreal mise-en-scène of sand, sea, dolls and a crucifix.

It is difficult to pin down Rego’s practice or to fit her neatly in a box. The show continuously builds momentum as we are taken through various stages of her life and imagination. Whatever predetermined perceptions there may be regarding Paula Rego’s work, this retrospective is sure to embark you on a trip to the unexpected leaving you shocked, engrossed and at times desperately uneasy.

Find out more about the exhibition here.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
08/07/2021
Reviews
Nathalie Brough
Paula Rego | Tate Britain
Paula Rego The Artist in Her Studio 1993 Leeds Museums and Galleries (Leeds Art Gallery) U.K. / Bridgeman Images © Paula Rego
Paula Rego The Artist in Her Studio 1993 Leeds Museums and Galleries (Leeds Art Gallery) U.K. / Bridgeman Images © Paula Rego

Nathalie Brough

Spread across eleven rooms of what is the UK's largest and most comprehensive retrospective of Paula Rego’s work to date, women crawl on all fours while animals perch with human-like qualities, narrating stories of love, lust and torment. The exhibition consists of collage, paintings, large-scale pastels, ink drawings and etchings spanning seven decades of Rego’s remarkable artistic career, from early work of the 1950s in which Rego began exploring personal and social struggles, to later works of richly layered, staged scenes.

Rego’s raw emotions and life story unfold room by room through a carefully curated chronological survey of her work, highlighting the socio-political context in which they are rooted. After leaving her native Lisbon as a child to escape the conservative dictatorship of António de Oliveira Salazar, Rego took refuge in London, where she later completed her studies at Slade School of Fine Art. It is here where she met Victor Willing, her tutor, lover and the person we see appear and reappear in Rego’s paintings; twice in one scene embracing different lovers or embodied as a submissive dog. Rego’s rage and anger in response to the repression of Salazar’s facist regime remained instilled, resulting in an explosion of dynamic, satirical collage and acrylic paintings seen among her early works.

Paula Rego, The Dance 1988. Tate. © Paula Rego
View fullsizePaula Rego, The Dance 1988. Tate. © Paula Rego

Although London is the city that she has lived in and called home for most of her life, it wasn’t until in her early fifties when Rego began to gain recognition in Britain, according to her son, Nick Willing, who represented her at the opening. After initially rejecting the invitation, opposed to its male-dominated collection, Rego became the first artist-in-residence at the National Gallery, London. She then went on to subvert the work of male artists, as seen most notably in Rego’s reworking of Hogarth’s Marriage à la Mode, replacing the setting with mid-twentieth-century Portugal and simultaneously reversing gender and social status.

Paula Rego’s Love, 1995 (Photo: Paula Rego/Private Collection, London)
View fullsizePaula Rego’s Love, 1995 (Photo: Paula Rego/Private Collection, London)

There are flashes of comic strips, folk tales, visual operas, anthropomorphic forms offering spears to a spewing monkey in a weightless disorder. A jumble of allegories and symbols interwoven with figurative scenes, largely a result of Rego’s Jungian analysis therapy that lasted forty years. The beautifully literary-rich chaos settles as we are then presented with gritty scenes of female experience. Women croutch, kneel, claw and crawl in pain in a gripping series of work confronting issues of abuse, traficking and female genital mutilation. Rego adopts a new process, scratching in energetic marks with oil pastel. She says compared to a brush, ‘the stick is fiercer, more aggressive’. The result is fleshy and harrowingly real.

A detail from Cast of Characters from Snow White, 1996 (Paula Rego)
View fullsizeA detail from Cast of Characters from Snow White, 1996 (Paula Rego)

Storytelling is at the core of Rego’s practice. Her later work sees her reference handmade props and puppet-like protagonists in order to explore complex emotions and ideas. An example is the wonderfully absurd and solemn pastel triptych, The Pillowman, inspired by Martin McDonagh's play. The flaccid mass of contorted tights and stuffing reclines, representing her adored father, embraced lovingly by a girl while two onlookers, a mother and her child, sit among a surreal mise-en-scène of sand, sea, dolls and a crucifix.

It is difficult to pin down Rego’s practice or to fit her neatly in a box. The show continuously builds momentum as we are taken through various stages of her life and imagination. Whatever predetermined perceptions there may be regarding Paula Rego’s work, this retrospective is sure to embark you on a trip to the unexpected leaving you shocked, engrossed and at times desperately uneasy.

Find out more about the exhibition here.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
08/07/2021
Reviews
Nathalie Brough
Paula Rego | Tate Britain
Paula Rego The Artist in Her Studio 1993 Leeds Museums and Galleries (Leeds Art Gallery) U.K. / Bridgeman Images © Paula Rego
Paula Rego The Artist in Her Studio 1993 Leeds Museums and Galleries (Leeds Art Gallery) U.K. / Bridgeman Images © Paula Rego

Nathalie Brough

Spread across eleven rooms of what is the UK's largest and most comprehensive retrospective of Paula Rego’s work to date, women crawl on all fours while animals perch with human-like qualities, narrating stories of love, lust and torment. The exhibition consists of collage, paintings, large-scale pastels, ink drawings and etchings spanning seven decades of Rego’s remarkable artistic career, from early work of the 1950s in which Rego began exploring personal and social struggles, to later works of richly layered, staged scenes.

Rego’s raw emotions and life story unfold room by room through a carefully curated chronological survey of her work, highlighting the socio-political context in which they are rooted. After leaving her native Lisbon as a child to escape the conservative dictatorship of António de Oliveira Salazar, Rego took refuge in London, where she later completed her studies at Slade School of Fine Art. It is here where she met Victor Willing, her tutor, lover and the person we see appear and reappear in Rego’s paintings; twice in one scene embracing different lovers or embodied as a submissive dog. Rego’s rage and anger in response to the repression of Salazar’s facist regime remained instilled, resulting in an explosion of dynamic, satirical collage and acrylic paintings seen among her early works.

Paula Rego, The Dance 1988. Tate. © Paula Rego
View fullsizePaula Rego, The Dance 1988. Tate. © Paula Rego

Although London is the city that she has lived in and called home for most of her life, it wasn’t until in her early fifties when Rego began to gain recognition in Britain, according to her son, Nick Willing, who represented her at the opening. After initially rejecting the invitation, opposed to its male-dominated collection, Rego became the first artist-in-residence at the National Gallery, London. She then went on to subvert the work of male artists, as seen most notably in Rego’s reworking of Hogarth’s Marriage à la Mode, replacing the setting with mid-twentieth-century Portugal and simultaneously reversing gender and social status.

Paula Rego’s Love, 1995 (Photo: Paula Rego/Private Collection, London)
View fullsizePaula Rego’s Love, 1995 (Photo: Paula Rego/Private Collection, London)

There are flashes of comic strips, folk tales, visual operas, anthropomorphic forms offering spears to a spewing monkey in a weightless disorder. A jumble of allegories and symbols interwoven with figurative scenes, largely a result of Rego’s Jungian analysis therapy that lasted forty years. The beautifully literary-rich chaos settles as we are then presented with gritty scenes of female experience. Women croutch, kneel, claw and crawl in pain in a gripping series of work confronting issues of abuse, traficking and female genital mutilation. Rego adopts a new process, scratching in energetic marks with oil pastel. She says compared to a brush, ‘the stick is fiercer, more aggressive’. The result is fleshy and harrowingly real.

A detail from Cast of Characters from Snow White, 1996 (Paula Rego)
View fullsizeA detail from Cast of Characters from Snow White, 1996 (Paula Rego)

Storytelling is at the core of Rego’s practice. Her later work sees her reference handmade props and puppet-like protagonists in order to explore complex emotions and ideas. An example is the wonderfully absurd and solemn pastel triptych, The Pillowman, inspired by Martin McDonagh's play. The flaccid mass of contorted tights and stuffing reclines, representing her adored father, embraced lovingly by a girl while two onlookers, a mother and her child, sit among a surreal mise-en-scène of sand, sea, dolls and a crucifix.

It is difficult to pin down Rego’s practice or to fit her neatly in a box. The show continuously builds momentum as we are taken through various stages of her life and imagination. Whatever predetermined perceptions there may be regarding Paula Rego’s work, this retrospective is sure to embark you on a trip to the unexpected leaving you shocked, engrossed and at times desperately uneasy.

Find out more about the exhibition here.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
08/07/2021
Reviews
Nathalie Brough
Paula Rego | Tate Britain
Paula Rego The Artist in Her Studio 1993 Leeds Museums and Galleries (Leeds Art Gallery) U.K. / Bridgeman Images © Paula Rego
Paula Rego The Artist in Her Studio 1993 Leeds Museums and Galleries (Leeds Art Gallery) U.K. / Bridgeman Images © Paula Rego

Nathalie Brough

Spread across eleven rooms of what is the UK's largest and most comprehensive retrospective of Paula Rego’s work to date, women crawl on all fours while animals perch with human-like qualities, narrating stories of love, lust and torment. The exhibition consists of collage, paintings, large-scale pastels, ink drawings and etchings spanning seven decades of Rego’s remarkable artistic career, from early work of the 1950s in which Rego began exploring personal and social struggles, to later works of richly layered, staged scenes.

Rego’s raw emotions and life story unfold room by room through a carefully curated chronological survey of her work, highlighting the socio-political context in which they are rooted. After leaving her native Lisbon as a child to escape the conservative dictatorship of António de Oliveira Salazar, Rego took refuge in London, where she later completed her studies at Slade School of Fine Art. It is here where she met Victor Willing, her tutor, lover and the person we see appear and reappear in Rego’s paintings; twice in one scene embracing different lovers or embodied as a submissive dog. Rego’s rage and anger in response to the repression of Salazar’s facist regime remained instilled, resulting in an explosion of dynamic, satirical collage and acrylic paintings seen among her early works.

Paula Rego, The Dance 1988. Tate. © Paula Rego
View fullsizePaula Rego, The Dance 1988. Tate. © Paula Rego

Although London is the city that she has lived in and called home for most of her life, it wasn’t until in her early fifties when Rego began to gain recognition in Britain, according to her son, Nick Willing, who represented her at the opening. After initially rejecting the invitation, opposed to its male-dominated collection, Rego became the first artist-in-residence at the National Gallery, London. She then went on to subvert the work of male artists, as seen most notably in Rego’s reworking of Hogarth’s Marriage à la Mode, replacing the setting with mid-twentieth-century Portugal and simultaneously reversing gender and social status.

Paula Rego’s Love, 1995 (Photo: Paula Rego/Private Collection, London)
View fullsizePaula Rego’s Love, 1995 (Photo: Paula Rego/Private Collection, London)

There are flashes of comic strips, folk tales, visual operas, anthropomorphic forms offering spears to a spewing monkey in a weightless disorder. A jumble of allegories and symbols interwoven with figurative scenes, largely a result of Rego’s Jungian analysis therapy that lasted forty years. The beautifully literary-rich chaos settles as we are then presented with gritty scenes of female experience. Women croutch, kneel, claw and crawl in pain in a gripping series of work confronting issues of abuse, traficking and female genital mutilation. Rego adopts a new process, scratching in energetic marks with oil pastel. She says compared to a brush, ‘the stick is fiercer, more aggressive’. The result is fleshy and harrowingly real.

A detail from Cast of Characters from Snow White, 1996 (Paula Rego)
View fullsizeA detail from Cast of Characters from Snow White, 1996 (Paula Rego)

Storytelling is at the core of Rego’s practice. Her later work sees her reference handmade props and puppet-like protagonists in order to explore complex emotions and ideas. An example is the wonderfully absurd and solemn pastel triptych, The Pillowman, inspired by Martin McDonagh's play. The flaccid mass of contorted tights and stuffing reclines, representing her adored father, embraced lovingly by a girl while two onlookers, a mother and her child, sit among a surreal mise-en-scène of sand, sea, dolls and a crucifix.

It is difficult to pin down Rego’s practice or to fit her neatly in a box. The show continuously builds momentum as we are taken through various stages of her life and imagination. Whatever predetermined perceptions there may be regarding Paula Rego’s work, this retrospective is sure to embark you on a trip to the unexpected leaving you shocked, engrossed and at times desperately uneasy.

Find out more about the exhibition here.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
08/07/2021
Reviews
Nathalie Brough
Paula Rego | Tate Britain
Paula Rego The Artist in Her Studio 1993 Leeds Museums and Galleries (Leeds Art Gallery) U.K. / Bridgeman Images © Paula Rego
Paula Rego The Artist in Her Studio 1993 Leeds Museums and Galleries (Leeds Art Gallery) U.K. / Bridgeman Images © Paula Rego

Nathalie Brough

Spread across eleven rooms of what is the UK's largest and most comprehensive retrospective of Paula Rego’s work to date, women crawl on all fours while animals perch with human-like qualities, narrating stories of love, lust and torment. The exhibition consists of collage, paintings, large-scale pastels, ink drawings and etchings spanning seven decades of Rego’s remarkable artistic career, from early work of the 1950s in which Rego began exploring personal and social struggles, to later works of richly layered, staged scenes.

Rego’s raw emotions and life story unfold room by room through a carefully curated chronological survey of her work, highlighting the socio-political context in which they are rooted. After leaving her native Lisbon as a child to escape the conservative dictatorship of António de Oliveira Salazar, Rego took refuge in London, where she later completed her studies at Slade School of Fine Art. It is here where she met Victor Willing, her tutor, lover and the person we see appear and reappear in Rego’s paintings; twice in one scene embracing different lovers or embodied as a submissive dog. Rego’s rage and anger in response to the repression of Salazar’s facist regime remained instilled, resulting in an explosion of dynamic, satirical collage and acrylic paintings seen among her early works.

Paula Rego, The Dance 1988. Tate. © Paula Rego
View fullsizePaula Rego, The Dance 1988. Tate. © Paula Rego

Although London is the city that she has lived in and called home for most of her life, it wasn’t until in her early fifties when Rego began to gain recognition in Britain, according to her son, Nick Willing, who represented her at the opening. After initially rejecting the invitation, opposed to its male-dominated collection, Rego became the first artist-in-residence at the National Gallery, London. She then went on to subvert the work of male artists, as seen most notably in Rego’s reworking of Hogarth’s Marriage à la Mode, replacing the setting with mid-twentieth-century Portugal and simultaneously reversing gender and social status.

Paula Rego’s Love, 1995 (Photo: Paula Rego/Private Collection, London)
View fullsizePaula Rego’s Love, 1995 (Photo: Paula Rego/Private Collection, London)

There are flashes of comic strips, folk tales, visual operas, anthropomorphic forms offering spears to a spewing monkey in a weightless disorder. A jumble of allegories and symbols interwoven with figurative scenes, largely a result of Rego’s Jungian analysis therapy that lasted forty years. The beautifully literary-rich chaos settles as we are then presented with gritty scenes of female experience. Women croutch, kneel, claw and crawl in pain in a gripping series of work confronting issues of abuse, traficking and female genital mutilation. Rego adopts a new process, scratching in energetic marks with oil pastel. She says compared to a brush, ‘the stick is fiercer, more aggressive’. The result is fleshy and harrowingly real.

A detail from Cast of Characters from Snow White, 1996 (Paula Rego)
View fullsizeA detail from Cast of Characters from Snow White, 1996 (Paula Rego)

Storytelling is at the core of Rego’s practice. Her later work sees her reference handmade props and puppet-like protagonists in order to explore complex emotions and ideas. An example is the wonderfully absurd and solemn pastel triptych, The Pillowman, inspired by Martin McDonagh's play. The flaccid mass of contorted tights and stuffing reclines, representing her adored father, embraced lovingly by a girl while two onlookers, a mother and her child, sit among a surreal mise-en-scène of sand, sea, dolls and a crucifix.

It is difficult to pin down Rego’s practice or to fit her neatly in a box. The show continuously builds momentum as we are taken through various stages of her life and imagination. Whatever predetermined perceptions there may be regarding Paula Rego’s work, this retrospective is sure to embark you on a trip to the unexpected leaving you shocked, engrossed and at times desperately uneasy.

Find out more about the exhibition here.

Thanks for reading
Collect your 5 yamos below
REDEEM YAMOS
Thanks For Reading
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.