Russell howarth 1920 - 2020

3 min läsning

Russel Howarth written by Marianne Arnberg for painters TUBES We travelled to Oldham a town to the North East of Manchester by the new tram system on a grey and rainy day. As a well travelled Swedish woman it was interesting to actually see the environment of a town that was, at one time, a wealthy part of the North West of England, and yet despite that historic wealth, the area seemed to have been overlooked for generations by successive UK’s government - the consequences of which were visibly evident. Although it has to be said that the relatively new tram system seems to have be having a positive effect on the Town where the prospective re-development programs could be witnessed by the boarding that surrounded the old buildings. My observations of this environment were to become important when looking and understanding the subject matter and the paintings of the artist Russell Howarth.

The terraced home of Russel is located in quite a nice area with a public park nearby, it was clear to me that this particular part of Oldham was, at one time, an area where middle management or skilled workers provided the backbone of the Victorian era’s industrial power house and lasted up to the late 1960’s before the Margret Thatcher English ‘renaissance & re-positioning’ of the English society and it’s heavy industry in the modern world. The artist took a little time to answer the door of the neat terraced house. My immediate impression was that Russel was truly an artist of quite independent thought.

As the editor was engrossed in talking to Russel, I was able to continue my observations of his living environment - it was neat and tidy -
His wider connection to the outside world being an old standard [British Telecom] dial-up type of phone. There were very few actual paintings on the walls of his sitting room, the decoration of which seemed to hark back the 1950’s - especially the wonderful chamfered shaped mirror on the back wall - As the editor’s chat lengthened it was clear to me that the artist really didn’t care much about talking about himself - what he had done and what he had achieved. In Sweden this ‘humility’ is seen as the correct and polite way to conduct oneself in company, as apposed to self-promotion or bragging about this or that, or overly egocentric about personal prowess, which is viewed as very bad manners.

The pauses in conversations and indeed sometimes the absolute silences, were only broken by Russell’s memories of the past, particularly those of his parents and of the vario


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