The Culturista

Rose Wylie: The Curator's Edit

The Culturista
Rose Wylie: The Curator's Edit

Curator Melissa Blanchflower selects her five favourites from the critically acclaimed 'Rose Wylie: Quack Quack' exhibition at the Serpentine Galleries.

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Park Dogs & Air Raid 2017
Oil on canvas
Courtesy of the Artist and David Zwirner, London

"Wylie made this large-scale painting Park Dogs & Air Raid (2017) in the summer, especially for the exhibition Quack Quack to be installed in one of the brick powder rooms at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery. The painting draws upon Wylie’s childhood recollections of living for a short period near Kensington Gardens in 1940 and revisiting the park in 2017 for her exhibition 77 years later. Two timeframes collapse as the present-day Serpentine Sackler Gallery is set against an aerial dogfight between Spitfires and Messerschmitt aircraft overhead during the Blitz.

Just as the curl of the dog’s tail is echoed in the spinning propellers and flight of the planes above, Wylie wittily reminds us of the painting’s materiality and turns our attention back to the construction of the work in the studio. A white strip marked with loose dabs of paint runs along the lower edge of the painting appears abstract, but it is an image of the skirting board in her studio, which catches the drips of paint from the canvases hanging above it as she works. This painting prompted the title of the exhibition Quack Quack which relates to the park and connects to the past, to ‘ack-ack’ – a term used to describe Second World War anti-aircraft artillery."

Choco Leibnitz 2006 Oil on Canvas 366 x 305 cm Rose Wylie.jpg

Choco Leibnitz 2006
Oil on canvas
Courtesy of Public Collection

"The close-up composition of this painting is more reminiscent of cropping techniques used in film than painting. Choco Leibnitz 2006 is a self-portrait which began with Wylie’s curiosity of what her mouth, eating a biscuit, might look like from the side.

Wylie finds inspiration for her visually compelling paintings through her daily encounters and a variety of sources, from art history, cinema, comic books and the natural world to news, celebrity stories and sport. She painted this around the time when Tony Blair, the then Prime Minister, was discussing the nation’s diet in the news."

NK (Syracuse Line-Up) 2014 Oil on Canvas 185 x 333 cm Rose Wylie.jpg

NK (Syracuse Line-up) 2014
Oil on canvas
Courtesy of Private Collection

"NK (Syracuse Line-Up) is inspired by a paparazzi image Wylie saw online of the actress Nicole Kidman wearing backless red gown held up by a diagonal strap at Cannes Film Festival in 2012. The steady repetition of the figure relates to the frames of a film to create a sense of movement, like stop-frame animation.

Working from her recollections and without returning to the original source image, Wylie places the strap of the gown differently – commenting on failures of memory. The repetition of the figure and the title of the painting also refer to mosaics or architectural friezes depicting processions of female martyrs, in particular that of St. Lucy of Syracuse."

ER _ ET_ 2011_ Oil on canvas_ 183 x 344 cm Rose Wylie.jpg

ER & ET 2011
Oil on canvas
Courtesy of Morten Viskum Collection

"Wylie ER & ET (2011) pairs the initials of Elizabeth I (Elizabeth Regina) with actress Elizabeth Taylor –the ‘Queen of Hollywood’. The painting depicts young Taylor in the manner of a classical reclining pose. She looks directly out of the canvas and is in control of her image, not so unlike Edouard Manet’s iconic painting Olympia (1863). Taylor, whose colourful private life was played out in the media is appropriately depicted as under surveillance – surrounded by eyes and ears.

Wylie has transcribed these motifs from the embroidered cloak worn by Elizabeth I in the iconic Rainbow Portrait (c.1600-2) attributed to Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, symbolising the monarch’s omnipresence over the spies and whispers at court. Elizabeth I is depicted in another painting in the exhibition Queen with Pansies (2016)."

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Kill Bill (Film Notes) 2007
Oil on canvas
Courtesy of Private Collection

"In her ongoing Film Notes series, Wylie reduces films to a single image that has lodged within her memory. This painting duplicates a scene from Quentin Tarantino’s iconic Kill Bill films depicting shifting points of perspective which in turn describes Wylie’s memory of the zooming action of the camera.

Repetition, like that of the Serpentine exhibition title Quack Quack, is an important tool within Wylie’s practice. She returns often to painting the same subject to investigate the many potential possibilities of an image."

Described as "showing a way forward for painting in this century" by The Guardian, 'Rose Wylie: Quack Quack' runs until 11 February at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, read more on the Serpentine Galleries site