Rose Wylie: History Painting

29 Mar 2018 – 30 May 2018

Event times

13:00 - 20:30 Tuesday - Saturday

Cost of entry


Plymouth Arts Centre

Devon, United Kingdom

Travel Information

  • Royal Parade, where many buses, terminate is a short walk away and Bretonside bus station is adjacent
  • Plymouth station is a 15 minute walk away

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Plymouth Arts Centre and The Gallery at Plymouth College Of Art present a multi-site exhibition by internationally renowned painter Rose Wylie. As part of History Painting, Wylie presents a cycle of new work about the Mayflower voyage, made between 2015-17 for this exhibition.


These paintings draw on the artist’s memories of first learning about the pilgrims as a young child in the 1930s, and reflect on how interpretations of history change across the ages.

Rose Wylie is best known for creating colourful, large scale, figurative paintings that are smart, funny, and quietly political. These are often made from memory and draw on a wide range of cultural references from history, fashion, and Hollywood to mythology, news imagery, sports and literature. The common thread linking these fields is her interest in how images evolve and accumulate meaning, becoming familiar, iconic and part of the narrative of popular culture and wider history.

The works selected for Plymouth (her first exhibition within the South West) focus on Rose’s interests in film, fashion and history and respond to the context of the two galleries, their architecture, location and programmes. The domestic proportions of Plymouth Arts Centre’s galleries precisely match the scale of the artist’s studio, while The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art is more recognisably a white cube. The way these spaces change our perceptions alludes to the gap between how artworks are perceived in the spaces of production and spaces of display.

Plymouth Arts Centre present Wylie’s new Mayflower paintings alongside themes the artist has painted for many years that resonate with Plymouth’s history, including the Tudor period, the Blitz, and as a seaside resort. There will also be a selection of Rose’s ‘film notes’ paintings in reference to
Plymouth Arts Centre’s 70 year history as a gallery/cinema. Ben Rivers’ film What Means Something (2015) reflects on his friendship with Rose, her work, and artistic processes they have in common. It will be shown as part of the exhibition

Rose Wylie is based in Kent, was born in 1934 and graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1981. In 2017 Rose’s exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery was widely acclaimed, and she has had solo exhibitions at Space K, Seoul, Chapter, Cardiff, and Turner Contemporary, Margate (all 2016); Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (2015); Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg, Germany (2014) and Tate Britain, London (2013). Rose Wylie is represented by David Zwirner, New York/London and Choi&Lager, Cologne/Seoul.

Image: Figure Head On Boat. Courtesy of Private Collection

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Exhibiting artists

Rose Wylie


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