Rook & Raven presents, ‘She Came To Stay’, an exhibition that takes its title from the novel of the same name by the writer Simone de Beauvoir includes the work of Paula Rego DBE, Eileen Cooper RA, Marie Jacotey, Lucy Farley and Annie Kevans. In keeping with the novel, this group exhibition explores many existentialist concepts such as freedom, angst and the other.
This cross-generational exhibition, curated by Aretha Campbell and Lucy Farley, is primarily concerned with painting – be it figurative or abstract – driven by autobiographical themes. The show explores female writers and painters and subsequently their collective concerns. Through these selected works the artists are questioning the perception of the human condition – concerns, which are all still relevant to today’s society and thus an inherent interest lies in assessing what has happened during that time lapse between females working then and females working from autobiographical sources now.
Born in Portugal, Dame Paula Rego’s work always has a sense of magical realism; quirky contemporary mythologies pointing to an underlying psychology and sexuality, through a feminine view-point. Working from literature, myths, fairy tales, cartoons and religious texts, Rego creates narrative works imbued with mystery. She is drawn to subjects that are well known and well resolved, and takes her imagery from sources as varied as Peter Pan and Mary Magdalene. Her first experiments with printmaking were tentative, but as she discovered the various techniques open to her, her work became liberated and extremely powerful. As in the works on display in this exhibition Paula Rego uses loaded imagery and symbolism to create a surreal mystery for the
Rego studied at the Slade School of Fine Art and was an exhibiting member of the London Group with David Hockney and Frank Auerbach. She was the first artist-in-residence at the National Gallery in London. Paula’s exhibitions include a retrospective at Tate Liverpool in 1997, Dulwich Picture Gallery in 1998, Tate Britain in 2005 and Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery in 2007. A major retrospective was also held of her work at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid in 2007, which travelled to the Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, the following year.
Sometimes described as a magic realist, Eileen Cooper RA brings an unapologetically female perspective to her subject matter, which encompasses sexuality, motherhood, life and death. Her richly diverse images, simultaneously bold and tender, reveal a range of feeling that is both deeply engrossing and readily accessible, yet still very much part of contemporary art practice. Throughout her career Cooper’s work has contained a strong autobiographical element. However, her vision is always more allegorical than anecdotal, her concerns and experiences as relevant and timeless as those of the human spirit itself.
Paula Rego DBE | Eileen Cooper RA| Marie Jacotey | Lucy Farley | Annie Kevans
Rook & Raven – She Came To Stay – 25 June to 22 August 2015