Obedience and Defiance: Fifty years of thought-provoking pastel artworks by Paula Rego

Paula REGO (b. 1935) Untitled No. 4, 1998 Pastel on paper, 110 x 100 cm Collection: Private Collection © Paula Rego, courtesy of Marlborough, New York and London

Gender discrimination, poverty, abortion, female genital mutilation, political tyranny and the death of civilians in war – these are the themes Paula Rego explores in her thought-provoking work, which is to be celebrated in a major retrospective in Scotland.

'Obedience and Defiance' at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art opens on 23 November and will take a closer look at over fifty years of her career from the late 1960s onwards.

Considered to be one of the most important artists living in Britain today, she is especially known for her paintings and prints based on folklore and mythology and her style has evolved from abstract to representational, always favouring pastels over oils. In many of her works, we see a dash of traditional folk from her native Portugal.

A graduate of the Slade School of Fine Art and University College London, Rego was an exhibiting member of the London Group, along with David Hockney and Frank Auerbach. She was also the first artist-in-residence at the National Gallery in London.

Speaking about the exhibition, Curator Catherine Lampert said: "It is tempting to focus on the moral, political and narrative significance and the meaningful details of a single work or a series, however, seeing Paula Rego's paintings on the wall, to me they appear so grand and museum-like, more like nuanced, mesmerising portraits of the people closest to her."

'Obedience and Defiance' at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art opens on 23 November 2019 and runs until 19 April 2020.

Paula REGO (b. 1935) Painting Him Out, 2011 Pastel on paper mounted on aluminium , 119.4 x 179.7 cm Collection: Private collection © Paula Rego, courtesy of Marlborough, New York and London

Paula REGO (b. 1935) Painting Him Out, 2011 Pastel on paper mounted on aluminium , 119.4 x 179.7 cm Collection: Private collection © Paula Rego, courtesy of Marlborough, New York and London

Paula REGO (b. 1935) Angel, 1998 Pastel on paper mounted on aluminium, 180 x 130 cm Collection: Private collection © Paula Rego, courtesy of Marlborough, New York and London Photograph courtesy Museu Paula Rego: Casa das Histórias Paula Rego, Cascais

Paula REGO (b. 1935) Angel, 1998 Pastel on paper mounted on aluminium, 180 x 130 cm Collection: Private collection © Paula Rego, courtesy of Marlborough, New York and London Photograph courtesy Museu Paula Rego: Casa das Histórias Paula Rego, Cascais

Paula REGO (b. 1935) Impailed, 2008 Conté pencil and ink wash on paper, 137 x 102 cm Collection: Private Collection © Paula Rego, courtesy of Marlborough, New York and London

Paula REGO (b. 1935) Impailed, 2008 Conté pencil and ink wash on paper, 137 x 102 cm Collection: Private Collection © Paula Rego, courtesy of Marlborough, New York and London

Paula REGO (b. 1935) The Cake Woman, 2004 Pastel on paper mounted on aluminium, 150 x 150 cm Collection: Private Collection © Paula Rego, courtesy of Marlborough, New York and London

Paula REGO (b. 1935) The Cake Woman, 2004 Pastel on paper mounted on aluminium, 150 x 150 cm Collection: Private Collection © Paula Rego, courtesy of Marlborough, New York and London

Paula REGO (b. 1935) Dancing Ostriches, 1995, (left-hand panel of diptych) Pastel on paper mounted on aluminium, left panel, 162.5 x 155 cm Collection: Private Collection © Paula Rego, courtesy Marlborough, New York and London

Paula REGO (b. 1935) Dancing Ostriches, 1995, (left-hand panel of diptych) Pastel on paper mounted on aluminium, left panel, 162.5 x 155 cm Collection: Private Collection © Paula Rego, courtesy Marlborough, New York and London

Paula REGO (b. 1935) The Pillowman, 2004, (right-hand panel of a triptych) Pastel on board, 180 x 120 cm Collection: Private Collection © Paula Rego, courtesy of Marlborough, New York and London

Paula REGO (b. 1935) The Pillowman, 2004, (right-hand panel of a triptych) Pastel on board, 180 x 120 cm Collection: Private Collection © Paula Rego, courtesy of Marlborough, New York and London