'If you make happiness your goal, then you're not going to get to it… The goal should be an interesting life."

Dorothy Rowe

Sunday 9 May 2010

A despatch from the far north -

well, the Yorkshire Dales [again]. We arrived yesterday, having stopped off in Liverpool on the way – a visit rather marred by our late arrival [traffic] and difficulty sleeping [overheated hotel room and a Scouse wedding reception taking place 3 floors below].

The journey from Liverpool to the Dales was by way of Salford, to visit the Lowry Gallery, on the recommendation of Mr and Mrs Cheddar. [We were able to resist her encouragement to take in Old Trafford as well – sorry, Mrs. C.!]

I must admit that until now I've been ambivalent about Lowry – My mother loved his work so I grew up surrounded by prints of mill scenes – and that rather irritating 60s pop song didn’t really encourage me to take him seriously. [Sorry, Quo fans.]

But the Gallery was a real eye-opener – I discovered that he didn’t just paint mill scenes, and indeed during the later stages of his career he got rather irritated that they were the only things people seemed to want.

I was struck by some seascapes - here and here - not a matchstick man in sight, the later work, Bargoed, which is ‘same but different’, and the paintings and drawings of people/animals from the 60s – I'm afraid I can’t find any images of those.

I have to admit that the urban pictures are pretty impressive, too – especially when you realise how carefully all those figures are placed to lead the eye around the painting. As someone who finds focal points really difficult, I can’t help but admire his skill.

The Gallery is currently hosting another exhibition, by Leo Fitzmaurice, which is inspired by film cartons. The rainbow coloured display was quite a contrast, after Lowry’s limited palette – and, together with images of some of Fitzmaurice’s other work, quite inspirational – it made me think of land art, but using everyday man-made ephemera.

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