John McGowan - Printmaker

Original Prints from an Original Printmaker

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    West Street 2003 Screen-print, 4 colours on Fabriano Tiepolo, Paper: H58 x W76cms, Image: H 48 x 54cms, Edition of 10

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    West Street 2 (2013) Screen-print, 4 colours on Fabriano Tiepolo, Edition of 10, Paper: H58 x W76cms, Image: H48 x W54cms

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    Oundle Perpendicular: Screen-print, 6 colours on Arches 88 paper, 300gsm Paper: 56 x 76cms, Image Size 48 x 54cms, Edition of 15

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    West Street /Windows and Doors 2013 Screen-print in 3 colours on Arches 88 paper, 300gsm, Limited Edition of 10 Paper 38 x 49 cms, Image 25.5 x 35.5 cms

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    Chubb (2003) Image 20 x 28 cms, Solar Plate Etching in one colour, proofs on mould made paper

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    Oundle Chapel-detail (2003) Image 27 x 19.5 cms, Solar Plate Etching in one colour, proofs on mould made paper

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    Tom Tom: The Road to Downham Market (2010), Screen-print in 5 colours on Fabriano Tiepolo, Edition of 6. Paper H 58cms x W 76cms, Image: H 43 x 56.5cms

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    Balcony House (2014) Screen-print, 11 colours on Fabriano Tiepolo, Paper H65 x W45cms, Image: H60 x W39cms, Edition of 25

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    Lavoria: Screen-print, 3 colours on BFK Rives, Edition of 15, Paper H25 x W33cms, Image: H18.5 x 24.5cms

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Oundle


My prints about Oundle have been made over a 15 year period. For seven years I was the printmaking specialist at Oundle School Art Department and chose, during that time, to make wide-ranging experiments in print techniques. However, the experimental processes often led to stand alone prints which are featured in this section, the locations vary widely.

West Street 2003

Screen-print in 4 colours on Fabriano Tiepolo Limited Edition of 10
Dimensions: Paper H 58cms x W 76cms, Image: H 48cms x 54cms Limited Edition of 10


West Street (Oundle) takes three buildings built for religious purposes and an elegant Georgian town house which are, in reality, spaced along the length of the eponymous street. They are brought together to create a print in which the formal qualities of the different architectural styles are set against a series of textural improvisations. Early John Piper lithographs inspired the subject matter and style. Initial proofs were made at Graal Press, Roslin, under the guidance of Carol Robertson.

West Street 2 (2013)

Screen-print in 4 colours on Fabriano Tiepolo Limited Edition of 10
Dimensions: Paper H 58cms x W 76cms, Image: H 48cms x 54cms


West Street 2 is a considered revision of the same imagery. In this version the darkest tone – off black – carries a much greater weight in the design. It changes the mood of the print from ‘Sunny June’ to ‘Wet Wednesday’. The revision came about from looking in greater depth at the ways in which John Piper uses his ‘key line’ to create textures as well as outline.

Oundle Perpendicular

Screenprint in six colours on Arches 88 paper, 300gsm
Edition of 15 with sundry progress proofs, BAT and 4 colour variants
Paper Size: 56 x 76cms, Image Size 48 x 54cms


Oundle Perpendicular is based on two ideas borrowed from other artists's works: William Marlow's Capriccio St Paul's (?c 1795), and John Piper's St. Matthais (1964), Stoke Newington. From the former I have taken the idea of making a new scene from different architectural elements and from the latter, colour choices and autographic handling of texture. The Oundle architecture is by John Sebastian Gwilt and Arthur Blomfield. The print was made expressly to mark the staging of my 2017 Retrospective exhibition at the Yarrow Gallery, which is on the left hand side of the tower. The Yarrow is also where I first had an opportunity to study Piper's prints.

West Street /Windows and Doors 2013

Screen-print in 3 colours on Arches 88 paper, 300gsm, Limited Edition of 10
Paper 38 x 49 cms, Image 25.5 x 35.5 cms


West Street/Windows and Doors takes three buildings The Stahl doorway, Georgian town house windows and the front door of Cobthorne, which are, in life, are spaced along the length of the eponymous street. The print brings them together in a style in which the formal qualities of the different architectural styles are set against each other. Early John Piper lithographs inspire the subject matter and style and Edward Bawden's lino-cuts the technique.

Chubb 2003Oundle Chapel-detail 2003

Chubb (2003) Image 20 x 28 cms
Oundle Chapel-detail (2003) Image 27 x 19.5 cms
Solar Plate Etching in one colour
Proofs on mould made paper


Chubb is based on a photograph of the padlock that secures the hatch down into the cellar of the Oundle School Chapel and a tone-reversed image of an architectural detail of the Chapel for the other. These two solar plate intaglio prints were produced under the direction of Alfons Bytautas at Edinburgh Printmakers during a short course.

Other Places


Tom Tom: The Road to Downham Market (2010)

Screen-print in 5 colours on Fabriano Tiepolo Limited Edition of 6
Dimensions: Paper H 58cms x W 76cms, Image: H 43cms x 56.5cms

Tom Tom started with an unexpected encounter with a series of non-conformist chapels found along the road to Downham Market. The erstwhile visitor was denied access to them in different ways: by conversion, fence and forest. The print was the first in which I explored new ways of making screen prints after retirement from teaching. Instead of a clear plan, with colours carefully mapped out, the final image was arrived at through an exhaustive series of trial proofs. The print is an attempt to balance photographic image with painterly mark making.

Balcony House (2014)

Screen-print in 11 colours on Fabriano Tiepolo mould-made paper
Dimensions: Paper H 65cms x W 45cms, Image: H 60cms x 39cms Limited Edition of 25


Balcony House, Glinton, was going to be part of a new ‘Prospect’ but the sight of the wonderful parterre garden changed my mind. and turned it into a stand-alone image. Photographs of the garden were taken from the balcony and blended together, then reversed to give a bird’s-eye view. The description is not literal; some of the foreground has been edited to give greater emphasis to the design of the low box hedging. The print has 11 colours, nearly twice as many as recent prints. The reason for the increase was the need to create contrasting splatter textures on the many areas of bush and hedge.

Lavoria

Screen-print in 3 colours on BFK Rives mould-made paper
Dimensions: Paper H 25cms x W 33cms, Image: H 18.5cms x 24.5cms Limited Edition of 15


This print started out as a sketchbook drawing made, on holiday, in Tuscany. On an afternoon walk we discovered an old communal village-washing place. It comprised a large concrete trough and the strange object seen in the foreground (as yet unidentified). Technically, the print is an exercise in creating rich sepia tones from 3 overlaid transparent colours. An original drawing on acetate was made from the sketch and separated into tones via a scanner.



John McGowan
September 2017

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