RCA Alumna Rose Wylie Celebrated by South Bank Sky Arts Award

Rose Wylie has been awarded the South Bank Sky Arts Award for her 2017 exhibition Quack Quack at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery. Wylie, who is 83 years old, graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1981 and is highly regarded internationally for her unique paintings and drawings, which are subtly sophisticated mediations on the nature of visual representation itself.

The South Bank Sky Arts Awards represent a wide range of arts in Britain, with categories including TV drama, classical music, theatre, comedy, dance, film, visual art, pop, literature and opera. Wylie was announced as the winner in the visual art category at an awards ceremony hosted by Melvyn Bragg on 1 July, which will be aired on Sky Arts on 4 July.

Wylie initially studied at Folkestone and Dover School of Art between 1952–56. After raising her family, she returned to study at the RCA from 1979–81, marking the start of her dedicated painting career. Wylie’s colourful, exuberant, often large-scale compositions merge socio-political and autobiographical elements. She draws on wide cultural areas such as fashion, mythology and the news, featuring diverse subjects from Wayne Rooney to the films of Quentin Tarantino, and people she meets in day-to-day life.

The South Bank Sky Arts Award is the latest accolade Wylie has received in recent years. In 2011, she was awarded the Paul Hamlyn Award for Visual Arts and in 2014 the John Moores Painting Prize. The first retrospective of her work was held in 2012 at the Jerwood Gallery, Hastings, which was followed by a BP Spotlight exhibition at Tate Britain in 2013. In 2015 she was elected a Senior Royal Academician and her painting featured in the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition was awarded the Charles Wollaston Award for most distinguished work. In June 2018, in recognition of her unique artistic practice, Wylie was honoured with an OBE in the Queen’s annual Birthday List.

Wylie’s work can currently be seen in History Painting, an exhibition at Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange in Cornwall until 15 September, and Hullo, Hullo… a survey of her work in the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga, Spain, until 9 September. Flags designed by Wylie can also be seen adorning Bond Street as part of the Royal Academy’s 250 year celebrations. Alongside the South Bank Sky Arts award show, Wylie and her work have also been profiled by the BBC art series imagine… in an episode due to be aired this summer.


Find out more about the RCA MA Painting Programme in the School of Arts & Humanities.