Sunday, 15 January 2012

Dr. MacKenzie Thorpe

Back in October last year I went up to Middlesbrough to see my partner and he told me about this exhibition that was going on at his university so I dandered on down to take a look and see what kind of artist he is.

When I first saw the artwork I was a little surprised to find how different it was to what I was expecting. I thought it would be more fine art but it was very expressionist and exaggerated. It was only a small gallery of works but it was enough to get a feel for what he was trying to show you. He wanted to show how he saw Middlesbrough, as he was from there, and the way he saw the colours around him affect the environment he was looking at. All of the art he drew was based on the past of Middlesbrough when the industrial age was thriving there. You see artworks of men on scaffolding working hard and women doing house hold duties. The thing that struck me most about his works though is that the people he painted were faceless and almost marshmallow-y looking.

In this painting you see the man has no face like all the other men behind him. They're also all wearing the same thing apart from the man in front who is the subject. This shows the working class man as they were in those days. When I think back to that time myself, I think of men that were workers who loved football and would be in the pub constantly so looking at this I get that sense of how I saw the past the same way he had experienced it. 

These two represent the mothers that would take care of their families and do everything on their own. Again you see the faces are blanked out as if none of them really stand out from being normal. They're all buying the same thing, wearing similar things and going on about their lives just being normal. In the first one you see the women's feet are larger than normal which is also another trend he does in his paintings. I'm not sure what it represents other than that's just the way he painted them to fit his marshmallow figures. 

He was definitely an interesting artist to go see. A unique style to the way he paints so it's something I'll recognise later on if I ever come across his works again. This piece here is my favourite out of the small gallery he had. The vibrant colours for the sky really stands out from the men and the dock. The long cables under the men's feet and the small planks showing what a dangerous job they were doing and how many of them were actually doing it. His idea on shaping people the way he has may mean a strong and proud city of people but that all of them were the same, normal people that worked and socialised together. 

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