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Sometimes, less is more

I stumbled across the work of contemporary artist John D Wilson the other day. I thought it was very clever and innovative. His work is also carried off with more than a touch of humour, and that is sadly something which is often seen to be the hallmark of inferior or 'cheap' art. Not so. One of his paintings struck me as particularly poignant. 'The Lowry' depicts a family outing to the Lowry museum in Manchester and it reminded me of a visit I made to the same place late last year.

L.S. Lowry was certainly a painter not taken seriously by many. His funny matchstick men and his deceptively naive depictions of northern English mill town life were dismissed by many as childish.  However, his simplified figures and his perpetual use of a limited palette (always the same six colours - ivory, black, vermillion, Prussian blue, yellow ochre and his beloved flake white), produced paintings of startling complexity and originality, often teeming with the feet of literally hundreds of people.



One of my favourite Lowrys is this one here, entitled Going to the Match. It was painted in 1953 and depicts Bolton Wanderers' Burnden Park (now demolished). The trademark cotton mills of the industrial north provide a haunting backdrop and a reminder of where the men in this painting will spend the best part of their lives. If you look closely you can see a broad union jack shape amongst the football supporters as they wend their way to the stadium - a nod to Queen Elizabeth's coronation that same year.




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