Celebrated British painter Rose Wylie—whose works are at once tactile, cerebral, and humorous—often draws her influence from a wide range of popular culture. Here her newest body of work references memories from her own life and mimics the way memories evolve and change over time.
Wylie’s source material is culled from the vast visual world around her, ranging from sixteenth-century British estates to Serena Williams and the French Open. While initially these may seem random or aesthetically simplistic, through the nuanced use of humor, language, and compositional structure, Wylie creates wittily observed and subtly sophisticated meditations on the nature of memory, and visual representation itself, in line with the paintings she has become known for over the course of her career.
A new essay by art critic Michael Glover explores the remarkable painter whose work has “spark, assurance, brash humor, an extraordinary, freewheeling eclecticism that seems to be just as ready to suck in references to the art of Ptolemaic Egypt and Roman portraiture as to pay homage to the films of Quentin Tarantino and the late paintings of Philip Guston.” Part of David Zwirner Books’s Spotlight Series, this book features Wylie’s newest paintings and drawings and is published on the occasion of the artist’s 2020 solo exhibition of these works at David Zwirner Hong Kong.
British artist Rose Wylie (b. 1934) paints uniquely recognizable, colorful, and exuberant compositions that at first glance are instantly accessible, not seeming to align with any discernible style or movement, but on closer inspection are revealed to be wittily observed and subtly sophisticated meditations on the nature of visual representation itself. As curator Clarrie Wallis notes, "[Wylie's] large pictures are painted in a kind of visual shorthand that is direct and legible. The ability to elicit a range of responses is made possible precisely because of her reduction of form to an essential vibrancy that incorporates, via the very physicality of her medium, not just what the artist sees but an accompanying multitude of thoughts, feelings, and memories. Wylie's work is a sophisticated transmutation, or sifting of perceptual experience, carrying as it does a wealth of affective and allusive resonances, into the painted form."
"Rose Wylie's painting a noun...exhibition is truly one-of-a-kind."
– Staff, Time Out Hong Kong
"Expect a riot of colourful and unruly compositions, which delight with their exuberance."
– Staff, Sassy Hong Kong
"In their multiple points of reference, and visual gourmandising, Wylie’s paintings are a reminder of how things coexist in our mind’s eye and how the memory of a place or time is never a simple, fixed thing: merely a few threads plucked in the moment from a shimmering tangle."
– Hettie Judah, Art UK
"She eschews art-world artiness; instead, the paintings are unaffected and joyful, and critics are captivated."
– Harriet Baker, Apollo
"Wylie fearlessly tackles the thorniest topics head-on, committing her thoughts and questions about politics, religion, fame, love, history, money and nature to canvas."
– Charlotte Brook, Harper’s Bazaar
"While Rose Wylie’s artworks on first glance appear simplistic or even naive, a closer examination reveals many fascinating details and reminds the viewer of the cartoon-like images of Philip Guston and Jean Michel Basquiat."