Monday, 8 November 2010

Alan McGowan

On day two of ' The Shadow Play' symposium. Alan McGowan, a highly skilled draughtsman, illustrator and teacher, spoke eloquently about his practice and showed the series of images that he produced in response to ‘Faust’ by Goethe. He attempted through his work to really connect with the text and show this emotion on paper. His large-scale figurative drawings are produced with charcoal. He likes to make his work ambiguous and open to interpretation. He explored the history of the meaning of shadows and the connection with negativity, evil and un-trust. This was illustrated by ‘The Simile of the Cave’ by Plato, the shadows symbolize what is false and that images can be mis-leading. He also showed the work of J.B Suvee ‘The Origin of the Painting’ which shows the shadow representing loss and sadness. He feels that illustration is always defined by its relatedness to something else e.g. a piece of text or an event. There is a link to Modernist ideas that text (clarity, reason, autonomy) is above image (ambiguity, suggestion). Like ‘The Simlie of the Cave’, he aims to communicate purely through image and express a sense of feeling, emotion and mood. Find out more about this and look beyond the aesthetic.

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