The Unstoppable Rose Wylie

The Unstoppable Rose Wylie

The artist Rose Wylie came of age in austere postwar England, a member of the so-called Silent Generation, but she doesn’t quite fit the mold. While she leads a relatively frugal and hermetic life that exemplifies the resourcefulness her contemporaries are known for, silent she is not. At 86, Wylie paints freewheeling pictures, often with words loosely scrawled across them, that are gloriously big and crude, and full of a certain dry British humor that sends up any whiff of orthodoxy or pretension. Tudor kings and queens cavort cartoonishly across 16-foot-wide, unprimed canvases. Disembodied mouths chomp through exploding cookies. Celebrities, cinematic characters and figures from commercials often appear: stars from Quentin Tarantino films with hulking shoulders and slender legs; Lolita-like blondes in sunglasses; Serena Williams hammering a tennis ball into the air. Nothing is off limits. “I don’t like constraints,” says Wylie. “I’m hugely open to options and possibilities.” Wylie found her way to art early in life. She attended art school in Kent as a teenager the 1950s, specializing in figurative painting, and soon after enrolled in teacher training …
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