Sitting on a Bench with Border, 2007

Rose Wylie was our lecturer this wednesday. She is an artist of 78 years from Kent. Her work involves creating playful, child like images in an homage to the newspapers she reads and the films she loves. The piece above is a portrait of Penelope Cruz drawn from the scene of a film, the name of which Wylie did not mention. She seemed particularly interested in the director Quentin Tarantino showing us paintings of scenes from Pulp Fiction (1994),  Kill Bill (2003) and Inglorious Basterds (2009). While acknowledging the violent nature of Tarantinos films Wylie says that “he leads a campaign for a hidden, spiritual re-look at things” I think she’s alone in seeing an ethereal subtext to these films but maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention. I fell asleep both times I tried to watch Inglorious Basterds. And I don’t really care for any of his other films (yes even reservoir dogs -the soundtrack)

Rose Wylie in her studio. Photo from Oh Comely magazine.

In an article by Rosanna Durham, for oh comely, Durham asks Wylie how she uses films in her painting..”I think films are a very interesting 20th and 21st century art form… If I see something in a film and think its memorable, or just terrific, I let it sink in and the next day I try and draw it. Then I really know if it was memorable.” Her reaction to film is similar to that of a child e.g if she notices something from a film that evokes a strong enough response she will try to draw it. Never asking questions of the film itself and its motives and creation and politics. She makes a point, in her lecture, to make clear that her paintings are not political or contextual. They have no message or agenda they are just aesthetic. Pictures for the sake of pictures. If you ask a child why they drew something I’m sure they would have a similar answer to Rose. For “Sitting on a Bench with Border, 2007” she said that she liked the way the actress was sat in this particular scene and that the border of heads reflected the frames of a movie. This passive response to the world around her leads me to think less of her as an artist. An artist tackles issues on scales that range from global ones to deeply personal ones. They should be at least open to they’re work being received as a political comment, which she seems completely against. Rose’s work straddles the border of fridge art and quirky illustration. In an attempt to understand her better I have drawn some pictures of my favourite scenes from one of my favourite films (in the style of Rose Wylie)

For More on Rose Wylie CLICK HERE