Paula Rego: Letting Loose

Paula Rego,Victoria Miro

An exhibition of works by Paula Rego from the 1980s, a period of liberation and self-discovery that led to great breakthroughs for the artist and saw her first major exhibitions in the UK and the US.

‘These paintings, perhaps more than any others, helped her to understand herself and those close to her.’ – Nick Willing

For Paula Rego, the 1980s was a decade of creative transformation. Moving away from a process of making collages – drawing and painting material that she would then cut up and arrange into sophisticated figurative puzzles – she began instead to engage with her childhood passion for painting as play. Working rapidly and fluidly, Rego embraced freedom as methodology, inventing a cast of humans, animals and hybrid creatures that, in turn, empowered her to tell her own story.
Just as collage had enabled Rego to deliver clandestine comments about society (and Portugal’s fascist regime in particular), her new, quickfire method of working, especially its use of anthropomorphism, aided the dramatisation of darker aspects of human nature without mannerism or sentimentality. Rego’s memories and experiences, aspects of loyalty, love, passion, obsession and jealousy, including the shifting dynamics that shaped her own marriage (her husband, the artist Victor Willing, was by the 1980s severely ill with multiple sclerosis) surface in works that helped her to identify her feelings for particular situations; feelings that, once established, might be transformed during the process of painting.

Lead image: Paula Rego, In and Out of The Sea AKA The Raft, 1985, acrylic on canvas, 242 x 192 cm, 95 1/4 x 75 5/8 in, © Ostrich Arts Ltd, courtesy Ostrich Arts Ltd and Victoria Miro

Duration 22 September 2023 - 11 November 2023
Times Tuesday–Saturday: 10am–6pm.
Cost Free
Venue Victoria Miro London
Address 16 Wharf Road, London, N1 7RW
Contact 4402073368109 / /