Lowry and the Painting of Modern Life

Lowry’s predictable style can be recognised by even the most unobservant of museum visitor; the bold black outlines, the linear composition always running parallel to the picture frame, and the vast expanses of landscape background. All this is part of his charm, but there is an element of oppressive monotony by the sixth room of Tate Britain’s latest exhibition. Organised thematically, it did little to make any career progression or stylistic development apparent due to the non-chronological hanging. This made the cyclical nature of his work even more apparent and harder to accurately digest and make sense of. Lowry is widely celebrated as a ‘painter of modern life’ – indeed that is the title of the exhibition – and yet the fact that his works span over 60 years and depict the same conception of modern life, surely demonstrates that it is his own particular realisation of everyday life we are viewing. Events such as evictions, suicides and the arrival of the fever van to take away ill and dying children, are normalised to the extent that they are not even instantly noticeable within a composition.

This article was first published on The Arbuturian. For the full article please see here.

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