Friday, June 23, 2017

I wanted to be a feminine animal sometimes – Paula Rego

Paula Rego is a Portuguese artist who pounced upon me, to my utmost elation, unawares. It was an artist friend who introduced her by bringing a book - Paula Rego by Fiona Bradley - and asking me to read it. This was sometime in May last year. I think it was one of the greatest feat by my friend as it turned out to be one of the best reads so far. Paula Rego’s work is something I would have loved from the very beginning had I known it before. An artist who doesn’t stick to the norms, who explores new territories, plunges and expunges into the unknown, makes tangible social commentary and moves vigorously forward with surmounting enthusiasm. I lovingly recall now the phases as I like to call it when her work transform and transcend to a new depth and height as they glide through it. Each one distinct and a treasure...a treat to the eyes, the senses and the conscience while rattling our depths very often with an inexplicable sense of empathy, guilt and perhaps even shame.

While Paula’s collages stir you up, ‘Girl and the Dog’ series start to nudge you somewhere. There is a menacing quality to it where you come across intense complex relationship with inimitable ambiguity. Printmaking is quite satisfying for Rego. Her etchings seem to sway you towards her with a newness both in the application and in the feel of it. Rego’s etching on ‘Captain Hook and the Lost Boy’ is one of the most surprising interpretations. ‘Flood’ is one of my favourites along with ‘Flying Children’.

As they move along to the murals, grandeur replaces it and the intricate details start to impinge you as if you are a witness to the happenings. The ballet women series is one we would have ever seen anything like it...the women who are caged in ‘girls’, who are disillusioned and who appear to have grown up and yet cannot escape from the tutu. They are all tied up! When the ‘Dog Women’ (pastel drawings) happens then there is no are in chains and there’s no escape from the shared guilt and lets loose the beast/wild in you...Rego speaks of it as being a positive quality to be able to do so. It's not undermining or making the women downtrodden instead it's letting the wild side free.

Lila is given much credit for being one of her favourite models and perhaps a muse to Rego. The Dog Women series originated by one of the poses that Lila naturally conducted.

Rego’s ‘revenge’ through her works is also a unique way of expressing repressed feelings. She reacts through her art. Faces fear through her work. It is revenge that she exemplifies through them. That I find is a kind of catharsis which if applied could purge one of all negativity and recharge one with renewed enthusiasm. In art, I suppose, it could enliven the entire picture and realm of creativity. 

Paula reminds me of Gerard Richter only in her diverse ways of expression. She is a seasoned artist whose varied interpretations and de-interpretations, the social comments... have all created a consortium of consciousness which could point out to the exigencies of ‘nature’ both within and without, more so with the inner realm. These fine vagaries of fancy are what haunt me the most. Thus said I present the most exotic blossom to this exotic goddess as my humble tribute. 

images from pinterest


Rajesh said...

Beautiful art work.

Linda Kunsman said...

wow- very intense and thought provoking art. Thanks for sharing and happy PPF!

Sue (this n that) said...

Thank you Deepa for your narrative. This artist has great technical skill indeed.

Nicole Beadwright Campanella said...

Ohhh this art is moving and thought provoking. Thank you for sharing.

Fran said...

Wow, these are really powerful paintings. Thanks for sharing.

sathish kumar said...

precise and profound way of expression your love towards art... Loved the way you have put in... kudos.

Rajeev Moothedath said...

A lovely post, very informative and as you say ' exotic' pictures. Thanks for sharing!