A Northern Adventure

Saturday saw me on a 200 mile round trip up north to take in two small, but perfectly formed exhibitions.

One, at Huddersfield Art Gallery by Mandy Payne, gets its official opening this Saturday, so I won’t spoil the surprise but if brutal photorealism is your thing, Mandy is your go-to girl!


My first stop was in a little place called Leigh to see this:

Just as an aside, The Turnpike has an excellent example of a William Mitchell mural:

I love Theodore Major, an irascible, cantankerous and cheeky fellow whose art work does not often get exhibited on a main scale, but who deserves to be up there with some of the greats.

Something about Major’s landscapes just resonate. Whether a solitary figure as in Yellow Sun with Standing Figure:

his skeleton series:

Or portraits of Wigan’s inhabitants:

Major captures elements of the human condition that often is only captured in poetry. His exploration of the industrial North surpasses LS Lowry, in my very humble opinion.

The melancholic, emotional tones of Major’s work came together in one particular work that draws you in:

Entitled, Wigan Lady, the sadness emanating from this portrait was palpable; Major knew how to draw the emotion out of his sitters.

Where this exhibition differs is that includes contemporary artists sitting alongside Major. I love this from the the handout:

“By juxtaposing Major’s beautiful but dystopian industrial landscapes alongside contemporary works of art, a reciprocal narrative of resilience and resistance emerges.”

Of particular interest was Emma Bennett’s Stripes, Stand Alone, High Life who, like Mandy Payne, utilitises concrete as the canvas on which these exquisite deconstructed patterns make a stunning companion to Major’s Houses in Snow:

These hanging structures by Mary Griffiths were also of interest:

This exhibition ends on 9th November and is well worth a visit!