Dame Maria Paula Figueiroa Rego—otherwise known as the artist Paula Rego—isn’t one to compromise her vision. She was born in Lisbon in 1935, and came of age in the midst of a fascist dictatorship. Her father was a dissident, like his father before him, and harbored a great love for the United Kingdom. He sent Rego to England to complete her studies, where she attended Slade alongside David Hockney and Frank Auerbach. Though her work is political, her reputation has never been that of a radical. Her images are drawn from myths and folk tales, and tell stories about dysfunctional families, political systems, and social structures. Unsettling and dark, they are permeated with a sense of unease. Like the artist Francis Bacon, Rego is fascinated by “the beautiful grotesque.” This landmark exhibition presents 100 works from the 1950s to 2010—collage, paintings, pastels, ink, drawings, and etchings. —E.C.
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