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The figure is the essential vehicle across the entire work of Rosa Osborne. The figure in multitudinous guises, the figure this way and that way, and articulated across an entire range of graphic and printed modes. These figures are directly observed within the anonymous and clinical environment of The Mall Gallery’s life room . On other occasions there is a post-pop trading in recycled, hand-me-down imagery, sometimes of a famous, clichéd, or mass-produced kind. But always there is a celebratory ring, a wit, humour or experimental tenor of an often fleeting and restless kind. The fulsome charcoal drawings of nude figures have a natural expressionist flow reminiscent of Heckel, Schmidt-Rotluff or Nolde.

Sculpturally robust yet spontaneously lyrical the drawn subjects are positioned across pink or beige wash grounds that establishes an emotional signature tune and a colouristic link to the subject of flesh. These drawings are often subjected to the more rigorous and disciplined processes of lino cut, monotype or silk-screen printing, processes that call into play her natural ability for cutting and gouging out positive and negative shapes – this cutting ability was informed by her prior sculpture studies at Hornsey School of Art in the 1970s, and by her activities as a jewellery maker – from soft linoleum. The black and white structures of the relief print have a powerful and direct character that relates to the stencilled imagery of the Street Art with which she engaged in for a few years.

Superimposed onto the faded textures of an actual piece of architecture or onto a piece of pictorial collage, these sprayed images frequently alighted on the celebrities and cult heroes of the avant-garde Bohemia, the time-worn agency of historical distance and clichéd familiarity and cultural absorption endemic to the textural, colouristic and morphological look of the work in question. Her work has featured recently in The Mall Gallery’s annual Originals Exhibition and the Katharine House Gallery, Malborough. Peter Davies, 2009

Recent works

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