cover image Paula Rego

Paula Rego

Rizzoli, John McEwen. Rizzoli International Publications, $55 (239pp) ISBN 978-0-8478-1593-7

Born in Portugal in 1935, her girlhood spent under the dictatorship of Antonio de Oliveira Salazar, London-based painter Paula Rego fiercely expressed her revulsion at a repressive patriarchal regime in Salazar Vomiting the Homeland. Her continually evolving style echoes Arshile Gorky's free-floating forms, Jean Dubuffet's naive spontaneity and Miro's pendulous sexual imagery, yet she turns her varied sources to her own ends. Fairy tales and Jungian archetypes pervade the childlike yet menacing Two Men Separated by a River of Blood. As British art critic McEwen notes in this lavishly illustrated monograph, many women see themselves and their predicaments in Rego's art--for example, in The Bride's Secret Diary , which gives palpable form to the emotional subtext of a marriage, or in the vibrant, delightful Opera and Red Monkey series, which caricature people in the form of animals. Rego's latest paintings speak of maternal loss and hope, of wisdom won with age, of private dreams projected onto an uncaring external world. (Feb.)