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Peter HOWSON 1958 -

OBE

Biography

Peter Howson was born in London in 1958 and moved to his adopted Scotland in 1962, where he studied at Glasgow School of Art (1975-7 and 1979-81). Alongside contemporaries such as Adrian Wiszniewski, Ken Currie and Stephen Campbell who were known collectively as the Glasgow Boys, Howson was one of the central figures in the school of Scottish figurative painting that rose to prominence in the 1980s.

Howson established his reputation with large format paintings showing massive, predominantly male figures portrayed in a bold, muscular style that used line and colour to powerful, expressive effect. The almost grotesque form of his overly-developed bodies was to become the focus of much of Howson's most lauded work. Howson's stated abhorrence of violent culture is reflected and often replicated in much of his work and there seems to be an intrinsic link between the potent, and sometimes literal, violence of his paintings and their depiction of muscle-bound monsters. His portrayals of Glasgow's down-and-outs and working class macho culture amidst the industrialised wasteland of Clydeside in the west of Scotland in the 1970s and 1980s gained him a vast amount of public and media attention.

In 1993 Howson was appointed the Official British War Artist for Bosnia, and his visits to the region provided him with a highly charged subject matter that gave new ethical direction and motivation to his work. He was awarded the Henry Moore Foundation Prize in 1988, the Lord Provost's Medal of Glasgow in 1995 and was made Doctor of Letters, Honoras Causa, by the University of Strathclyde in 1996. His work is widely collected and features in the National Galleries of Scotland Collection as well and numerous private collections. He has previously show his work in Dumfries and Galloway at the Newton Stewart Library, where his uncle is the Librarian. The show was invariably well received and enjoyed by locals and visitors to the region alike.

The printmaking term lithography literally means stone drawing. In addition to lithographic stones, metal plates can also be used (zinc and aluminium). The process of lithography is based on the fact that water and grease repel one another. The image is drawn with a greasy medium, for example, a lithographic crayon, onto the stone or plate. The surface is then dampened with water. When ink is rolled onto this surface the ink is attracted to the greasy areas and repelled by the damp areas. The ink is transferred to the paper via a press. For large editions the image can be chemically fixed and gum Arabic, which repels any further grease marks, but does not repel water, is applied. Colour lithographic prints require separate stones or plates for each colour.

The works in the Gracefield Arts Centre permanent collection were purchased with assistance from the National Fund for Acquisitions administered with government funds by the National Museum of Scotland

for more information on Peter Howson then visit his website