At first sight this work seems to be organized solely as a complex visual exercise in layers of interpenetrating transparent and translucent layers in a geometric schema; then we see its clever intellectual relationship to one of the 20th century’s favourite paintings: Edward Hopper’s Hotel room. The latter also has a grid-like format of strong verticals and horizontals, which enhances its sense of loneliness and alienation; and it has a similar colour scheme of whites, greens and browns. Hopper’s painting can be seen as conjuring the female version of the rootless outsider, isolated in an unrelaxed dishabille in her soulless room, while Rose presents the male version – the discarded shirt, the chair which is starkly clean and barely used, the wine and plastic tumbler.
Stephen Rose was born in Rochford, Essex, in 1960. His career as an artist began when, aged 8, he saw a print of Caravaggio’s Conversion of St Paul. He was trained at the Medway College of Art (1979-80), Cheltenham College of Art (1980-83; BA Hons in Fine Art), the British School in Rome (1982), and the Royal Academy of Art (1983-86; Diploma in Fine Art). In 1992 he was elected Brother of the Art Workers Guild, Bloomsbury, London.
He has won various awards, including the British Institute Award, 1983; the Royal Academy Painting Prize, 1984; the Landseer Scholarship, 1985; the Richard Ford Travelling Scholarship, 1986 (when he studied at the Prado, Madrid); and the Royal Overseas League International Painting Competition Travelling Prize, 1987 (when he visited in northern India). He has exhibited at the ICA, the Mall Galleries, the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, the Royal Society of Portrait Painters and the National Portrait Gallery (BP Portrait Competition); in 2001 he had his first one-man exhibition at Target, in Munich, Germany.
Publications: How to paint in oils, Winsor & Newton, 2008