This catalogue was published to coincide with the artist's solo exhibition Harrowing of Hell, 24 October - 22 November 2008.
Peter Howson is an artist of disarming visual honesty. His work, which at different stages in his career has celebrated allegory and allegorised celebrity, depicting the landscapes of modern war with a Goyaesque brilliance, is testament to an obsessive occupation with the dark recesses of existence, that have since developed into a strong faith and spiritualism.
Howson is a compelling storyteller. The works illustrated in this book, epic oils and dense hatchings of graphite on gesso, reveal personal narratives. Howson describes the works as 'autobiographical or semi-autobiographical', pictorial evidence of the pain and turmoil resulting from his daughter Lucie's struggles with epilepsy and Asperger's Syndrome. He credits Lucie for saving him from a spiral of alcoholism, drug addiction, infidelity and obsessive behaviour; the destructive prelude to his conversion to Christianity in 2000. Howson reconciles the trauma of Lucie's condition by seeing it as 'a faith test' and, as such, the works - whilst pregnant with grief and suffering - are not without hope or redemptive possibility.