Saturday, 27 June 2009

Paula Rego: The Ultimate Story Teller

"We interpret the world through stories... everybody makes in their own way sense of things, but if you have stories it helps," says Paula Rego, explaining her work.

Paula Rego, internationally renowned contemporary artist, exhibits her etchings and lithographs spanning over 20 years at the Brook in Budleigh Salterton from 12 July to 10 August, with a private view at the Brook on 11 July, when she will be joined by acclaimed British contemporary artist, Chris Orr MBE RA.

Left: Moon Eggs

“Paula Rego is one of the leading figurative artists working today,” says Brook spokesperson Kendra Grahame-Clarke. “She cleverly entwines her own experiences with those of dreams and fantasies. Gleaned from the frailties of life and exploring the struggles between men and women, this series of original prints is inspired by modern and classic literature and the political and social realities of today. Her work knows no boundaries; adept at painting and drawing, her simple and strong images translate perfectly into original print, a medium that she values and celebrates.” Above: The Baker's Wife

Born in Lisbon, Portugal in 1935, Paula travelled to England in 1950s to study at the Slade School of Fine Art. Paula made London her home with her husband artist Victor Willing, in 1976 and dividing her time between London and Portugal, her work retains an element of energy, confidence and some say 'Goya influence' that underlines her style; an "Iberian magic realist," is how The Washington Post has described her work.

Her first exhibition at a commercial gallery took place in 1982, and from 1987, Paula started to produce graphic work which paralleled her concerns as a painter. This portfolio of work at the Brook celebrates her independent approach to the print medium and to its long association with storytelling, including Nursery Rhymes, Peter Pan, The Pendle Witches and two beautiful etchings released this year. Above: Wendy and the Lost Boys

Paula highlights the drama of the stories, creating a snapshot of human life within a cameo of an existing story; one looks, one understands, one considers, however one may not conclude. With the stark contrasts of light and dark subject matter in much of the work, Paula stuns you with an image that needs further thought. Her ideal is for you to perhaps reconsider and dwell, no decision or outcome need be reached. 'Searing narratives, not easily defined, drive her work' said Julius Purcell, writing in The Washington Post.

Paula's inventive and honest work is a constant throughout her life, and oblivious to passing fashions, she didn't achieve the recognition as a great artist that she deserved until in her 50s. Now internationally acclaimed, Paula's solo exhibitions in the UK include The Dulwich Picture Gallery, The Serpentine Gallery and The South Bank Centre in London; The Tate Gallery in Liverpool and Arnolfini in Bristol. Paula's work is held in a large number of public collections, including the British Museum, National Portrait Gallery and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. The 'Rego Gallery' devoted to Paula's work is due to open later this year in Cacais, Portugal. Above: Sewing on the Shadow

Opening hours for the Exhibition which runs from 12 July to 10 August are 10.30am - 5.00pm. The Gallery is closed on Sunday mornings.
Contact details for the Brook Gallery are:
Tel: 01395 443 003
Brook Gallery Ltd
Fore Street
Budleigh Salterton
Devon EX9 6NH

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