CAE Reading and Use of English Part 6
You are going to read four reviews of an art exhibition. For questions 37-40, choose from the reviews A-D. The extracts may be chosen more than once.
An art exhibition by Lowry
Four reviewers comment on an exhibition of paintings by Lowry.
There is a painting at the start of this riveting exhibition that stays in mind and it typifies the effect Lowry’s work has had on our sense of what he called ‘the northern industrial scene’. No other artist has painted factories and chimneys stretching far into the distance like stage sets so insistently and so recognisably. However, what belongs to Lowry’s imagination and what belongs to the actual world he observed is a question that runs through this exhibition. The pictures are a combination of observation and memory, patched together with elements taken from different cities, but this is part of their strength. They are not narrowly specific, limited to one place, yet they are deeply familiar to people who grew up in these places. Their sameness is their greatest attribute.
A good exhibition may enhance or deepen our understanding of an artist, but very few transform our perception of an already well-known name. However, this is the most radical and exciting re-evaluation of a British artist I have ever encountered, and a thrilling display of how paint conveys ideas, time and place; the paintings show a self-contained world at once fascinating and convincing in its relation to the artist’s own experiences. The initial impression as you walk into a room of his paintings is sameness; you have to look for difference, which is there. The curators of this exhibition have produced a display that demonstrates both why such repetition was important and how Lowry developed beyond it. The exhibition traces the evolution of Lowry’s work, which he described as ‘to put the industrial scene on the map, because no one had done it’. This is a modest aim for such an achievement. In these unique paintings there is darkness and light, while fictional scenes and true representation can be found side by side.
This is an interesting exhibition, although it has several flaws; paintings are not hung chronologically and visitors must work hard to see stylistic and technical developments over the artist’s working life of more than sixty years. Because most of his work has the same focus, there are too many similar paintings hanging close together; his last works drew heavily on both habit and memory. Ironically these are weaker than some of those produced by his many imitators, and his lesser-known but equally worthy portraits and late seascapes are unrepresented. Because of this it seems to reinforce the mistaken idea that Lowry was the only artist painting industrial scenes. There were many examples of industrial and urban subjects in the nineteenth century and Lowry was aware of his near contemporaries in London and their interest in modern life. Their influence cannot be ignored.
This noteworthy exhibition is guaranteed to polarise opinions, which is why it is so important to see it for yourself. It is extraordinarily hard to catch the tone of Lowry’s paintings in the gallery, however well they are shown. My sense is that this comes directly from the curious absence of feeling at the heart of Lowry’s art. He painted his own small world and once he established his style, it never really changed. He repeated himself, shuffling the scenery in picture after picture just as life repeats itself, the crowds he painted going to and fro among the same dark buildings day after day. His people were faceless, with sticks for limbs, small in stature and generally remote. Movement was implied, though never achieved. Strangely, for me it is his deserted scenes – haunting seascapes, the hillsides with houses piercing the sky like broken teeth – that are considered his best work. Yet it is his figures that most ordinary people will recognise instantly and which are a central feature of this exhibition.
Which reviewer …
37 has a different opinion from the others about whether the paintings in the exhibition
are all the same?
38 has the same view as Reviewer C about the value of Lowry’s less famous works?
39 has a different opinion from the others about the value of the exhibition?
40 has the same opinion as Reviewer В about the importance of Lowry as an artist?
CAE Reading and Use of English Part 7
You are going to read an article about the making of a popular television detective series. Six paragraphs have been removed from the article. Choose from the paragraphs A-G the one which fits each gap (41-46). There is one extra paragraph which you do not need to use.
Scott and Bailey
On Silver Street in Bury, Manchester, an old Barclays Bank building has been turned into the headquarters of the Major Incident Team of the Manchester Metropolitan Police. They don’t actually exist, the Manchester Metropolitan Police, but you would never know that if you looked around the building.
This rigorous authenticity is one of the things that makes Scott and Bailey different from other police dramas and extends further than office ephemera. This is largely down to the involvement of Di Taylor, a retired CID detective inspector and co-creator of the series. And it helped it attract an audience of 9.4 million viewers last year.
It’s clever and it’s funny: Wainwright has a remarkable way of creating sprightly dialogue. The plots are convincing and the characters are credible: it’s particularly good on the way women relate to each other. There is the friendship between two female detectives and the more complicated friendship between Scott and Murray, who is her contemporary and long-standing friend but also her boss.
The original idea belonged to Suranne Jonesand actress friend Sally Lindsay. It was given to Wainwright to write. Wainwright had met Di Taylor through a mutual friend and wanted to take the female heroes out of the regular police and put them onto the major incident team (MIT), ‘which is much more interesting than burglaries and car theft’.
‘I find them very masculine and there’s little that entertains me.’ Wainwright is particularly bored with the stereotype of the lone male detective who is brilliant but troubled. ‘I like to take people into dark areas but I also like to make them laugh. Di is a born detective but she has a robust personality and she’s deeply human as well. And very funny. I wanted to reflect that in the series.’
‘When I got talking to her, the penny began to drop,’ the actress says. ‘The Detective Chief Inspector I play is a brilliantly shifting character, which is really good going on TV. She’s imperious, funny, larky, annoying, beady, entertaining – it’s very unusual to get so many flavours.’
This is indicative of the feedback Scott and Bailey has received. Taylor says, ‘I’ve had people phoning me whom I haven’t spoken to for years – people who’ve been really high up on murder cases, who absolutely love it. The police all talk about it on their shifts the next day, which to me is the biggest complement anyone could pay.’
A Why is it so popular? Well, the thing that resonates most strongly with its actors, creators and critics is the script. Written by the acclaimed Sally Wainwright, the series concerns two female detective constables, Janet Scott (Lesley Sharp) and Rachel Bailey (Suranne Jones), their DCI, Gill Murray (Amelia Bullmore), their intriguing personal lives and quite a lot of gruesome murder.
В The director of this episode is Morag Fullarton. He is aware of striking a balance between what is authentic and interesting and what is authentic and dull. ‘Are we going to do what is procedurally correct and will be boring, or are we going to dispense with that and make it more interesting for the viewer?’
C As well as creating very believable people, authenticity is achieved in others ways, too. For one episode they were allowed to shoot in a real prison. ‘I’ve been refused access there before, for another programme,’ the locations manager says, ‘but the lady from the prison service loves Scott and Bailey because it’s very true to life.’
D Rachel Bailey is bright but rather chaotic, an instinctive detective who takes risks, both personally and professionally; Janet Scott is her older colleague, with two daughters, a husband she’s bored with and a colleague who’s in love with her. There’s a lot of chat and some very serious issues discussed in the cafeteria. Alongside that are the crimes. This is television drama at its best: fresh and intriguing and very compelling.
E Posters urging the report of domestic abuse adorn the walls of the reception area and in the detectives’ office there is a scruffy, studenty atmosphere – jars of Coffee-mate on top of the fridge, Pot Noodles and a notice urging ‘Brew fund due. You know who you are – pay up!’ The desks are strewn with cold and flu medicine; the walls of the DCI’s office are hung with framed certificates.
F So Wainwright created Gill Murray. When Amanda Bullmore was cast in the role, she had no idea that her character was based on a real person. She read the script and then went up to Manchester to meet Wainwright, who said, ‘We’re taking you out to dinner to meet Di who’s been very instrumental in all this – just sit next to her and soak it all up.’
G Talking to Taylor made Wainwright realise that she could write a cop show that was exciting and different. Wainwright is not a fan of most police dramas. She doesn’t even like The Wire.