Jock McFadyen Lowry

The Lowry Theatre is swinging open its doors this winter to showcase the work of Jock McFadyen in its first major exhibition since the lifting of lockdown restrictions in the UK.

Paintings from the famed Scottish artist will be hung across the walls of the gallery to showcase the works he has curated across his 45 year career.

Home to his artistic influence, LS Lowry, several of McFadyen’s paintings will stand alongside those of Lowry to display the visual connections between the two artist’s work.

Jock McFadyen said: “We’re in the last room, a room devoted to the idea of making comparisons between Lowry and me so it will be one of my pictures next to a Lowry, looking for a visual connection between the two.”

Jock McFadyen / 2021 Neave Fowkes

The painter, who was elected to The Royal Academy in 2012, reflected on seeing his life’s art on the walls by nervously anticipating the reaction from the public.

When asked about how he feels to have his paintings displayed next to Lowry’s he affirmed it was ‘an honour’.

“I’m one of Lowry’s fans.

“Lowry is not one of these artists who is liked very much by the art establishment, you know, he’s seen as an outsider and he’s sort of been written out the story of art which seems an odd thing to say because he’s such a popular artist but he’s one of those artists who’s got quite a high profile because of public demand but the art establishment don’t see a place for Lowry at all.”

He added: “I feel certainly as if its like seeing my life pass before my eyes.”

“I suppose I’d like people to respond to it, even if it’s a negative response, I’d be quite interested as when you’re doing stuff you don’t quite know how people are going to view it so if people found it offensive that would be interesting or if they like it, that’s alright as well.”

Jock McFadyen Gallery / 2021 Neave Fowkes

McFayden, whose work is held in 40 public museum collections in the UK, reflected on the time spent working on the exhibition, detailing how long it took to get everything on top form ready for the eyes of the public.

He said: “It took about 4 years.

“We had Covid in between and the exhibition was scheduled a year ago so you’d normally have for an exhibition of this scale about 3 years of discussion and all that.”

Michael Simpson, Director of Visual Arts at The Lowry, said: “He’s an artist that I’ve admired for as long as I’ve been looking at art.

“I used to go and see his exhibitions when I was still a student and I loved his kind of rebellious spirit he seemed to kind of just paint what he wanted to, what moved him and he didn’t seem to be going down a route he felt he aught to be going down. It just came from the heart what he wanted to paint.

“To be able to show his work here is a dream for me because it’s lovely to work with him.”

Michael Simpson / 2021 Neave Fowkes

Simpson praised McFadyen’s approach to his art and the way in which it takes on similarities to that of Lowry’s describing them both as artists who belong to the ‘awkward squad’ of the art world.

Simpson explained how McFadyen contacted the Lowry expressing his interest in showcasing his art as part of a retrospective gallery that connected his pieces with that of Lowry’s.

He said: “We devised what an exhibition might look like and then we were cracking on.

“Jock is an experienced artist who knows to pick his moment when you know you’ve got a body of good work and you know the time is right and then to say why don’t we do an exhibition.

“It was just ideal.”

The exhibition is running from the 16th October up until Sunday 27 February 2022.

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