Perhaps his broad appeal and accessibility is behind the fact that he has not only a gallery honoring his name, but a theatre, a car park and a shopping centre also.
I’d had “take family to the Lowry, Manchester” on my todo list tagged #rainyday for about 2 years. Perhaps like pretty much everyone, he appealed to me. His ubiquitous, iconic street scenes are the ones people know – the matchstick men and matchstick cats and dogs. Everyone, especially people who’ve experienced a northern UK town can identify with these but I found the gallery and the introductory film and other supporting info, emblazoned on the red walls of the main gallery space a brilliant eye opener into his world.
There’s another side to his painting. The memorising piece entitled The Cripples is, on closer inspection a self portrait. His work was punctuated with break-away styles – abstracts, self portraits, Dark erotica. He was always questioning what and why he was doing what he did. Driven almost by an invisible force. His whit and incisive perception, the subject matter typically being the people in the world around him but there was also an esoteric side to his art, and a window into his obsessive and occasionally dark self loathing.
I love the moment you can get in a gallery where you ‘own’ a piece of art. Just before getting told off for taking the above photo (of his Oil on Canvas called ‘Ann’) I had a moment of exclusivity with it. I was captivated. Standing in front of a painting, able to get as close as 1cm – sans spectacles – is something I love to do. To breath in the brush strokes and see every spec and crumb of paint. Incredible.
We didn’t even explore the theatre side of the gallery (arguably, the ‘main event’) but from what we saw, we all loved it.