Rose Wylie

b. 1934, UK. Lives and works in Kent, UK


Rose Wylie
Rose Wylie, Battle in Heaven (Film Notes), 2018


Rose Wylie paints in a direct, effervescent style, full of texture and personality. Figures, objects, signs and words appear together in a distinctive lexicon that draws from the popular culture of entertainment and sport, but retains a renegade individuality. Humorous and emotional, Wylie’s art uses seemingly simple forms to ask serious questions about what painting can do, and generously invites the viewer on a journey to experience the world as she perceives it. Battle in Heaven (film notes) is one of Wylie’s ongoing cinema-inspired paintings, in which she works with memorable scenes from films she has watched. In this case it is a confrontational, violent Mexican film, Battle in Heaven (2005), by director Carlos Reygadas, which features an opening and closing shot of the back of a woman’s head as she engages in a sex act. On the raw canvas, Wylie started by applying pale green underpainting to add vibrancy beneath the surface, much as Renaissance masters did. The bold, textured brushstrokes of hair and skin laid on top disarm, and the work takes on an air of romantic adventure, creating a distance from the atmosphere in the source material.