Sea Change: The Art of England's North-West Coast
23 August – 9 November 2014
Free to all
Paintings, poetry, sculpture, film and photographs are used to chart the transformation of the north west coast over the last two centuries.
British artists have long been inspired by the north-west coastline, from Chambre Hardman to Martin Parr, Bert Hardy to LS Lowry. The display draws together a series of works that reflect the transformation of this region over the last 200 years, picking up on locations including Morecambe Bay and New Brighton.
During this period, the north-west has been at the centre of a massive tourist boom, with popular seaside resorts such as Blackpool and Southport only coming to prominence in the early 1800s. In fact, Fleetwood didn't even exist until the 1830s, when it was created by namesake Peter Hesketh-Fleetwood.
Lowry's July, The Seaside from 1943 demonstrates the artist's inability to paint shadows. A dull day and a beach set against an industrial background perfectly depict what he once said: 'I only deal with poverty and gloom. I never do a jolly picture'.
Also on display, One summer's day we went on a trip to New Brighton by Helen Bradley, who started painting in her 60s in order to show her grandchildren what her Edwardian childhood had been like. Acquired for Gallery Oldham with Art Fund support in 2012, the autobiographical piece also shows how the artist was inspired by the Turkish and Mughal Indian miniature painting.