Mermaids, rowers and figures adrift: all are familiar in the work of Paula Rego. Now, the celebrated artist turns her attentions to The Boy Who Loved the Sea.
This traditional Portuguese folk tale has inspired Rego to produce a new body of work, encompassing drawing, painting and sculpture – and with your support through our crowdfunding platform, Art Happens, Jerwood Gallery has raised the funds required to bring this collection to Hastings.
The new works are displayed alongside some of Rego’s other works inspired by the sea, as well as selections from her uniquely dark nursery rhymes series and 11 pastel drawings made a decade ago but never shown until now. The drawings form a sequence that Rego terms The Depression Series, depicting the artist in the depths of a black period that tested her limits and to which she feared she might return, keeping the images in a locked drawer.
The sea holds deep significance for Rego, who could see it from the balcony of her childhood room on the Lisbon coast, and who fondly remembers time spent with her grandmother in the fishing village of Ericeira. Water shifts character across her work, from the calm, watchful background of The Dance to the surging, almost libidinous force of Flood.