Robert McGowan has been a number of things in his life--university faculty member, library arts specialist, founder of non-profit organizations such as the Memphis Center for Contemporary Art, and founder of publications like the journal Number: magazine. He has also been a gallery director, art critic, book reviewer, and bookstore marketing and media relations manager.
Most notably, McGowan is an artist and a writer--a writer of both fiction and non-fiction. His writings have been published in several prominent literary journals both in the United States and abroad, including American Forests, The Black Herald (France), Chautauqua, Connecticut Review, Etchings (Australia),
Though his primary focus is writing, McGowan's artwork is noteworthy and has also been published in several prominent journals, such as American Literary Review, BRAND (UK), and dotdotdash (Australia).
The spring 2012 issue of STONE VOICES, a publication with a focus on art and spirituality, features McGowan's series of drawings, entitled New Drawings. Of this series, McGowan says, “[The color and line intrusions] are intended to be perceived as muted gestures. Despite the drawings being conventionally resolved compositionally, I enjoy their seeming also somewhat tentative or uncertain, as though the process of composing them were, at any given instance of perceiving them, yet ongoing, still in process, so that the energy of that process is felt by the viewer, however subtly.”
STONE VOICES' editor, Christine Cote, was eager to publish the pieces, feeling that the sense of uncertainty conveyed by the drawings combined with the vast areas of negative space or emptiness carry the viewer to a place of groundlessness. "It is not uncommon for people to feel groundless--that is, lost, scattered, ripped apart. Oftentimes on our spiritual journey we are faced with and must learn to recognize and work with these feelings of groundlessness. It can be a huge challenge for each of us at some point in our lives. McGowan's work may carry us to place of uncertainty and groundlessness, but then invites us to be calm and peaceful. McGowan's drawings are very powerful pieces."
STONE VOICES explores the connections between visual arts and spirituality. Its premise is that making and experiencing art can be a transformative experience when approached with clarity, mindfulness, and intention. Each issue of STONE VOICES includes art portfolios representing a diverse group of artists from around the world, as well as articles, essays, fiction, and poetry about art and spirituality. STONE VOICES may be purchased at select bookstores or online at www.stonevoices.co.
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Shanti Arts LLC celebrates and promotes art, artists, and artistry. The company produces several art shows each year through its virtual gallery, Still Point Art Gallery, and publishes two publications, Still Point Arts Quarterly and Stone Voices.