Wendy Rolt studied at the Royal Drawing School. She now works in East London as an artist and has founded and runs Arch76, a charity for women who come from difficult and broken backgrounds. Wendy’s work expresses an experience of the city in conversation with the life and stories of the women she works with.
Trained under Francis Hoyland, a contemporary of Frank Auerbach, the influence of both artists is clear in Wendy’s energetic style, where views of the city and landscapes seem to dissolve in the materiality of painting.
Similarly Peter Lanyon, Anseim Kiefer, Matisse and De Kooning all play a tangible role in their influences in Wendy’s work. Like these master artists that precede her, she is untiring with her practice. Be it drawing, painting or mixed media, Wendy is always exploring the atmospheres of different places, city, land and sea, aiming to convey not only the views, but also the spirit of the place and moment.
Wendy writes, ‘My life and work are based and concentred on the east end. I spend a lot of time with women with broken pasts who are trying to rebuild their lives; it is a bumpy and often testing journey. My art creates a balance, it is time focused on imagination, colour and the visual. It is a safe and spacious place to create risks creatively and emotionally, and a process with an end to it.
This is in contrast to the rest of my life; there is little spaciousness to the east end. However this is one of the reasons I love it – the ever present people, neighbours, drama, arguments, gossip, laughter, everyone knowing everyone’s business, community, being known, energy... and it never seems to end! The combination of creativity, and the east end, for me, is a heightened sense of colour, hope and community.’
‘In concentrating on landscapes over the last two years I have been able to move into a place where colour and composition stand alone from subject matter. Both Sussex and Cornwall are places I have gravitated to for rest away from work and London. They are places where my thoughts are more straight forward and more emotionally detached. So to paint them has helped me stand back and look and see and be braver in allowing the painting to become its own and speak for itself.’