Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Reflections on a visit to The Lowry

Lowry's close observation of his world was insightful; but there is something terribly sad about about his work. The northern factory scenes that form the backdrop to his most famous works do not lend themselves to an optimistic outlook. Lowry is at his best when depicting the mass movement of workers bent forward with purpose thus capturing their busy-ness. Mill Scene, 1965, is a case in point. Lowry wrote of his subject matter,
"I dislike them myself . . . Yet as soon as I start, what happens? Pitiful-looking people throng around gloomy factories with smoking chimneys. I stare at the blank canvass and that is what I see - and what I have to paint.".
Lowry paints the familiar but there is a detachment here too. He himself commented that, "they are ghostly figures . . . They are symbols of my mood, they are myself.". That detachment derives from his loneliness.
"Had I not been lonely, none of my work would have happened. I should not have done what I have done, or seen the way I saw things."
The Lowry Gallery, Salford Quays

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