Born in 1966 Andrew McIlroy is one of a new wave of highly regarded, mid-career Australian Romantic artists. His elemental paintings are evocative visions that are deeply personal and embedded with individual experiences. Painted in strong saturated tones, they beautifully portray expressive seascapes with tumultuous seas and stormy skies. If the essence of McIlroy's paintings went only this far, they could be viewed as outward looking, non-sensual depictions of nature. However, there is something deeper going on. From their composition and palette, the paintings capture the artist's mood where he promotes a strong sense of emotion, illuminating the still ever present forces of nature. From the isolation of his studio, McIlroy immerses himself in imagined landscapes. These elicitations have their basis in reality, referencing plein-air studies, but are more produced from a memory. They are deeply sensual works and at times heightened by disturbing experiences that capture the fear and exuberance that fall from the tensions between 'unseen' and the 'known'. McIlroy says, “My paintings are deeply personal, a metaphor for the fears and anxieties that gripped me as a child. I know I am not alone in these life experiences so I hope to emotionally engage, confront and connect with the viewer using familiar images and universal experiences, in the tradition of the Romantic painters of the past” In this McIlroy succeeds.
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