In my opinion, Paula Rego is one of our greatest living artists. Rego is a painter and print maker that is shamefully underrated. I have no idea why that is, maybe it is part of that current snobbery against skill, talent and figurative, narrative art; everything I love. For some reason Rego is usually told to go and sit quietly next to Frida Kahlo and let the men make and talk about the serious, important art that sends critics into raptures but leaves the general public cold and confused! Paula Rego was born in Portugal to an Anglophile father in 1935. As an only child she was indulged and encouraged by all the adults in her life. Her nanny fed her the myths and folktales, gossip and rhymes that she made such great use of when she grew up. She attended The Slade in the fifties where she met her husband, Victor Willing.
|Baba Black Sheep|
|Three Blind Mice|
Rego's work is colourful but creepily dark. She can imbue a work with such menace, but will still manage to inject humour at the same time. The Girl and dog series, the Abortion series and so on, all tell stories. Looking at one of her images is like watching a film. If I could choose a picture to own though (dream on!) it would be 'Pregnant Rabbit Telling Her Parents'. It makes me laugh every time I look at it, there is no need for an explanation, it is pretty obvious. Rego's etchings/aquatints are every bit as compelling. Rego is one artist whom I'd love to watch painting, her studio looks like my idea of Disneyland, full of props and visual stimuli. One last thing, I'd love to be able to draw and paint hands and feet half as well as she does, look for yourself!
|Pregnant Rabbit telling Her Parents|