The head and bare shoulders of a girl are shown in profile, in a work executed in a bold, impressionist manner. The paint has been applied thickly and with vigour, giving an impasto effect, particularly at the girl's shoulder, and has also been allowed to run in rivulets where the girl's torso has been cropped. Dark jagged shadows are shown behind the girl's head, and dark shapes also appear towards the bottom of the canvas, echoing the rivulets of paint. The flesh is depicted predominantly in olive green hues, with blue highlights at the eye, ear and neck.
Alan's work has been praised for its "evocative, dreamlike depictions" (Artwork) and for its "rich romanticism with a neo-expressionist brush" (Press and Journal, Aberdeen).
He is intrigued as to how people react to his work, especially to the dialogue he creates between darkness and beauty.
"What you see is what you get - it's more an attitude to drawing than anything I think."
Alan McGowan is a figurative painter based in Scotland. He studied at Edinburgh College of Art and completed his post-graduate studies at Newcastle Polytechnic in 1991. From 1987 to 1996 he worked mainly as an illustrator producing drawings, paintings and portraits for The Sunday Times, The Observer, The Telegraph, The Independant, Scholastic press USA, and many others. During this period he also taught illustration, drawing and printmaking at The University of Northumbria, and was a visiting lecturer at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee, Edinburgh College of Art and Hull School of Art.
In 1997 he produced a suite of large scale charcoal drawings as illustrations to “Faust” by Goethe which was exhibited and toured within the UK. Since that time he has been actively involved in exhibiting painting and his works appear in private collections in the UK and in the USA, Norway, Switzerland and Ireland. He is currently based in Edinburgh and his work is represented by Gallery Heinzel in Aberdeen and the Kilmorack Gallery in Inverness.
In 2012 he published a book of drawings 'The Language of the Body' (ISBN 9780957242807). This publication is an investigation and celebration of life drawing. It seeks to explore an activity which has been marginalised in many art institutions over the past twenty years and to reinvigorate it by engaging with it as a practice which has its own functions, its own limitations and language. Central to this group of works is a feeling of doubt; the elusiveness of experience and the contingent nature of our attempts to capture it in the language of drawing.