In the two years since the untimely death of my brother Ally Thompson, I have been preparing a retrospective exhibition of his work, which opens next month at the Lillie Art Gallery in Milngavie, Glasgow, G62 8BZ, from 12th January to 21st February. The show will involve over 70 paintings, drawings and collages, some for sale, alongside numerous archival sketches and an extensive slideshow of his life and work. The exhibition catalogue includes a remarkable essay by Ally’s friend and Glasgow School of Art contemporary Peter Howson. Ally achieved more recognition in his lifetime in France and America than he did in his native Scotland, and it is to be hoped that through media coverage and public interest that unjust state of affairs may begin, little by little, to be corrected.
Ally painted in a startlingly diverse range of styles, and his philosophically critical stance towards the empty materialism of our current society set him aside in a manner that led Peter Howson to remark “His work, masterfully executed, is uncompromising and stark in its beauty and he can be regarded as a visionary in the mould of William Blake”.
We will never of course, get over the loss of our brother, our mentor and creative inspiration. To have grown up with him and witnessed his art in process was a privilege beyond words. But as the saying goes, we need to be grateful that it happened rather than merely sad that it is over. Please come along and see for yourself, and help celebrate and enjoy the life and work of a truly remarkable artistic creator. Ally lived for art, now let’s help make his art live for him.