ARTIST Rose Wylie has the honour of being the first to have their work displayed in a solo exhibition at the new Jerwood Gallery.
It is also a first for her professionally, as Big Boys Sit in the Front is the first retrospective of her work. She said: “I was delighted to be asked, and I like the building very much.
“To have a show and to be the opening artist, that was terrific.”
The 77-year-old Kent-based artist was selected to represent the UK in the Women to Watch exhibition in 2010 at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington.
She was awarded the 2011 Paul Hamlyn Prize for Visual Arts, shortlisted for the Jerwood Foundation’s Painting Prize in 1997, and featured in the Jerwood Drawing Prize in 2003.
Her work is distinctive, comprising vast canvases, which often have a childlike quality.
Inspiration is often drawn from films she has seen (she mentions Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds as a favourite), or from public figures.
She is a keen supporter of the gallery and sees as one of the strengths of its location, the fact that the surrounding area remains as it has always been, and has not been unnecessarily modernised.
Wylie has not yet visited the exhibition at the Jerwood, and is looking forward to seeing her work hanging together, and to the responses of others.
She recalls that by coincidence she was in Hastings giving a talk to an artists’ group, while elsewhere in the town, the decision was being made that would bring the Jerwood to Hastings.