Shortly after graduating from Goldsmith’s College in 1997, paper became Charlotte McGowan-Griffin’s primary medium. In 2004 she began to combine cut paper using light and shadow to create large-scale sculptural installations. These, along with her textural and two-dimensional wall works, contain a complex figuration with looser, more gestural incursions into the paper's surface.
Her installation cycle The Whiteness of the Whale, based on Herman Melville’s novel Moby-Dick, includes a 10m walk-through paper whale. More recent installations such as Kami no Machi / Town of Paper, Town of the Gods, 2015 or From Sarsaparilla to Sorcery, 2012-2015, also include found and commissioned objects relating to the history of the book and to paper, and include insights into the creative process itself.
Since 2005 McGowan-Griffin has been mainly based in Berlin. She has been the recipient of several working stipends over the past decade, most recently being awarded a one-year working grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation.