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Biography

Alan McGowan was born in 1964 in Glasgow and studied for his degree at Edinburgh College of Art since when he has been a practicing artist and teacher.

His paintings have featured at many exhibitions of contemporary figure art including; The Scottish Portrait Awards (2017), the BP Portrait exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London, the Threadneedle Prize for Figurative Art, the Society of Portrait Sculptors exhibition and The Ruth Borchard self portrait exhibition. In 2014 he was a semi-finalist in the Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the year and his work is featured in the international painting annual reviews INPA5, 6 & 7, published by Manifest in Cincinatti USA. His works appear in the public collections of the Royal Scottish Academy, Stirling University and Art in Healthcare and he is winner of the Wood Award (Visual Arts Scotland), the Bowie award for painting (Paisley Institute) and the Powderhall Foundry award for sculpture.

He has exhibited widely throughout the UK and internationally in group shows in South Korea, Portugal, Finland, Italy, the Czech Republic and the USA, and recently featured in the exhibition “A Bit of Brit” at the Westbeth Gallery in New York.

Working always from life his paintings explore the tension between the inherent elusiveness of the world and our attempts to hold on to it. Seeing language itself as a vehicle for these attempts the language of paint – colour, tone, runniness, translucency, opacity, line etc become a second subject in tandem with the model, a parallel terrain.

Alan also teaches figure drawing, painting and anatomy for artists and has taught at the Royal Academy in London, The National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh College of Art, Dundee University, The Museum of London, The Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin, Leith School of Art and the Royal Collection Gallery, Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh. In 2012 he published a book of drawings “The Language of the Body” exploring the relationship between working in the life studio and the philosophical concerns of writers such as Michael de Montaigne and Proust which was named the best art book of 2012 by about.com website. In 2017 he published "Unstill Life".


Publications

"Unstill Life; Paintings, Drawings and Writing." McGowan. Saturation 2017.
ISBN 978-0957242814

“The Language of the Body: Figure Drawings in Four Chapters.” McGowan. Saturation, 2012.
ISBN 9780957242807

“Faust, Exhibition Drawings”. McGowan. University of Northumbria, 1997.
ISBN 0-9534674-0-6

“The Art of Man” (edition 14) magazine article. Firehouse Publishing, New Jersey. August 2013.
ISBN 978-1940290904

“Nude 4”. Manifest Press, Cincinatti, OH 45206. September 2012.
SELECTED EXHIBITION HISTORY


2017 Scottish Portrait Awards, Scottish Arts Club, Edinburgh.
"Unstill Life" Stirling University, Stirling.
2016 Society of Scottish Artists Exhibition, Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh.
2015 BP Portrait Award, National Gallery London, Edinburgh & Ulster.
Ruth Borchard Self Portrait Exhibition.
2014 Threadneedle Exhibition. Mall Galleries London
"A Bit of Brit". Westbeth Gallery, New York, USA.
Society of Portrait Sculptors exhibition, Sladmore Contemporary. London.
2013 Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh; Artist in residence "Ego" exhibition.
2012 "Nude 4", Manifest Gallery, Cincinnati, USA
Arts Complex Summer Exhibition, Edinburgh.
“The Language of the Body”, Arts Complex, Edinburgh.
Visual Arts Scotland Annual Open Exhibition, Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh.
Kilmorack Gallery Summer Exhibition, Beully, Inverness-shire.
Gallery Heinzel Summer Exhibition, Aberdeen
Leith School of Art, small pictures exhibition, Edinburgh.
2011 RSA Annual Open Exhibition. Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh.
Gallery Heinzel Winter Exhibition, Aberdeen
Visual Arts Scotland Annual Exhibition. Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh.
2010 RSA Annual Open Exhibition. Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh.
Visual Arts Scotland Annual Exhibition. Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh.
Axolotyl Gallery Edinburgh.
2009 “Naked”, Atticsalt Gallery, Edinburgh.
2006 Glasgow Art Fair
London Art Fair
Summer Exhibition, Gallery Heinzel, Aberdeen.
2005 Glasgow Art Fair
London Art Fair, Islington, with Flying Colours Gallery.
2005 “Situated Self”, City Art Museum Helsinki. April 22nd until 6th June.
International School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture, Monte Castello di Vibio, Umbria, Italy.
2004 “Copa Dell Arte”, Quadrum Gallery, Lisbon, Portugal.
“Transfiguration”, Merz Gallery, Broughton Street, Edinburgh.
“William Bowie Award” winner, Paisley Institute Annual Open.
Visual Arts Scotland, Annual Exhibition, Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh.
Christmas show, Gallery Heinzel, Aberdeen
“Art London”, with Patrick Davies Contemporary Art, Chelsea Art Fair, London.
“Figure and Face”, Orleans House Gallery Open Exhibition, Richmond, London.
2003 VAS Annual Exhibition, Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh.
“New Faces Exhibition”, Gallery Heinzel, Aberdeen
2002 “Visual Arts Scotland” Annual Exhibition.
2002 Invitational Exhibition, Seoul National Institute of Technology, South Korea.
2002 Contemporary Art International Exchange Exhibition, Prague Congress Centre, Czech Republic.
2001 New Paintings at Vic Naylor, St Johns Road, Clerkenwell, London.
“Wood Award” winner, Visual Arts Scotland, Annual Exhibition, Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh.
2000 “Faust” touring exhibition at Matthew Gallery University of Edinburgh.
“Faust” ,Squires Gallery, University of Northumbria, Newcastle upon Tyne.
“Faust” , EICG Gallery, Hull School of Art.
2000 “Images” Royal College of Art, London.
1995 “Mythologies”, Netherbow Arts Centre, Edinburgh.
1991 “Munch And Blake Were Shanners”, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh.
1989 “Process of Illumination” Hilside Gallery, Edinburgh.

WORKSHOPS AND PRESENTATIONS

2012 Painting the Classical Figure, Leith School of Art, Edinburgh
Anatomy for Artists, Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin.
“The Language of the Body; figure drawings in four chapters”, RHA Schools lecture, Dublin.
Anatomy for Artists, Bristol School of Drawing, Royal West of England Academy, Bristol.
Anatomy for Artists, Arts Complex, Edinburgh.
2011 Anatomy for Artists, Clashnettie Arts Centre, Aberdeenshire.
Anatomy for Artists, Arts Complex, Edinburgh.
Portraiture and the Anatomy of the Head, Bristol School of Drawing.
Anatomy for Artists, Bristol School of Drawing.
2010 Anatomy for Artists, Moray Arts Centre, Findhorn, Morayshire.
“The Development of Renaissance Anatomy”, Public lecture, Moray Arts Centre, Findhorn, Morayshire.
Anatomy for Artists, Bristol School of Drawing.
Anatomy for Artists, Bristol School of Drawing.

PUBLICATIONS

“The Language of the Body”, Alan McGowan, 2012. ISBN 9780957242807
“Faust: Exhibition Drawings”, Alan McGowan, 1998. ISBN 0953467406

RESIDENCIES

The International School for Drawing, Painting and Sculpture, montecastello de Vibio, Umbria, Italy. May 2005.

Research Fellow at the University of Northumbria, 1999-2003

AWARDS

“Wood Award” , Visual Arts Scotland Annual Exhibition, Royal Scottish academy, 2001
“William Bowie Award”, Paisley Institute Annual Exhibition, 2004.

PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS

Visual Arts Scotland, 2001
Unstill Life book
UNSTILL LIFE: Paintings, Drawings and Writing
Unstill Life
by Alan McGowan

£24.95

Published by SATURATION 2017
Available on Amazon UK
Language of the Body
The Language of the Body; Figure Drawings in Four Chapters
The Language of the Body
by Alan McGowan

£19.95

Published by SATURATION, 2012
Available on Amazon UK