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 BP Portrait exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London, The Scottish Portrait Awards, 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.
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 Art Academy, The National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh College of Art, Dundee University, The Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin, amongst other places. He has published two books on life drawing and painting “The Language of the Body” (2012) and “Unstill Life” (2017).