A month after my twin brother died, I dreamt I was walking along the edge of a precipitous cliff at night. Fog and mist concealed the landscape. Two half moons illuminated the sky. I slipped, and began plunging through abysmal blackness. Looking around for something to take hold of, I saw two tiny yellow daylilies appear. I seized their soft petals between my fingers, and pulled myself back up into the dream. A pale, smiling character was waiting for me at the top. "Who are you?" I asked. He laughed, "I don't know who I am. Who are you?"Read More
Please join me in celebrating the completion of The Lilies How They Grow, a body of work which I began nearly three and half years ago, and which will be on display February 14th-June 14th at the Honolulu Museum of Art at First Hawaiian Center, Honolulu, HI.
The Lilies How They Grow
Emily McIlroy’s recent series of large-scale, oil and pastel paintings on paper explores the natural world as metaphor for human experiences of love, loss, grief, and wonder. Organic shapes, richly layered colors, and delicate textures reminiscent of underwater caverns, sea creatures, and plant forms, emerge from a repetitive process of rendering and erasure. -Honolulu Museum of Art
Honolulu Museum of Art at First Hawaiian Center
Honolulu Museum of Art at First Hawaiian Center is committed to presenting exhibitions that highlight the work of Hawai‘i artists and Hawai‘i-based works of art.
Since it opened in 1996, the exhibition space at First Hawaiian Center has been a premier venue to showcase Hawai‘i’s emerging contemporary artists.
A longstanding partner of the museum, First Hawaiian Bank continues to be a leading supporter of the islands' arts and vibrant creative community. Conveniently located in the heart of downtown, First Hawaiian Center's gallery is open during bank hours and is free to the public year round.
CONWAY, Ark. (September 17, 2018) – Ellis Hall, the new home to the Department of Religious Studies and Department of Philosophy at Hendrix College, for the next year is also home to a dozen works of art that ask viewers to ponder how they empathetically engage with the human body as it’s depicted in portrait paintings.
The Body of Empathy opens on Sept. 19 from 4 to 8 p.m., with a guided descriptive walk through the exhibit at 6 p.m. It is an internationally juried show of environmental portrait paintings by six different artists: Donna Festa, Karen Fleming, Nina Jordan, Eva O’Donovan, Emily McIlroy, and Niamh McGuinne. The year-long show is jointly curated by Professor Matthew Lopas of the Hendrix Department of Art, and Dr. James Dow, associate professor of philosophy, director of the Marshall T. Steel Center for the Study of Religion and Philosophy, and chair of the College’s neuroscience program.
The theme of The Body of Empathy explores whether viewers can empathize with characters or personas in paintings. Can looking at the human body in a painting be a type of ethical witnessing of sentiments in human life: joy, sadness, anger, fear, disgust, pride, shame, guilt, resentment? How does engagement with paintings cultivate empathy differently than perspective taking with people?
“Hendrix College’s mission statement suggests that we aim to cultivate empathy. Recent discussions in aesthetics have focused on whether art can provide a distinctive opportunity for the cultivation of empathy,” Dow said. “Since religious studies and philosophy share common ground in thinking about the importance of empathy for values, care, and community, we hope that the show will provide an opportunity for a conversation about ideas of empathy considered from a variety of perspectives.”
Following the opening reception, the exhibit will be available for viewing weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the academic year, then on a limited basis through the summer of 2019.
About Hendrix College
A private liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas, Hendrix College consistently earns recognition as one of the country’s leading liberal arts institutions, and is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges. Its academic quality and rigor, innovation, and value have established Hendrix as a fixture in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings. Founded in 1876, Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. To learn more, visit www.hendrix.edu.
Glacier Welcomes July Artist-in-Residence
Public Invited to July Programs
WEST GLACIER, MONT – Glacier is excited to have Artist Emily McIlroy here July 7th – August 2nd as our second Artist-in-Residence for the year. The program offers professional artists the opportunity to pursue their artistic discipline while being surrounded by the park’s inspiring landscape. Each artist will pursue their work while in the park, and then engage and inspire the public through an outreach program. The public programs will be related to their experience as the artist-in-residence and can be demonstrations, talks, exploratory walks, or performances. Digital images of selected work produced as a part of the residency may be used in park publications, websites and presentations for education and outreach.Read More
If you happen to be in Cincinnati, Ohio July 14-August 11, my work will be on view in the upcoming exhibition "In Memoriam", at Manifest Gallery Creative Research and Drawing Center. Public opening July 14, 6-9pm.
Art About Loss
In a larger sense the creation of any art object is a form of externalized memory. Sometimes, however, the direct purpose of the artwork is to serve as a vehicle for a specific remembrance, a totem of loss, or a symbol of transition from a time, place, or state of being that is no longer accessible. As such, these objects become infused with more life—more substance—than they may at first appear to represent. Whether through abstract symbols, illustrations of the memorialized, or poetic conceptualizations of the idea of remembrance, Manifest asked artists to submit works made with these concepts in mind. This project was open to wide interpretation of the theme, and was not restricted to traditional definitions of the term 'in memoriam' (such as may relate to obituaries and epitaphs).Read More
In graduate school, I once made a scroll from a scrap of linen. Irises, a Greek symbol for the link between heaven and earth, were equally spaced in a long, single row. The flower blossoms, painted in various colors, stood like living monuments against a pale, milky sky. Their roots, etched out of darkness, morphed into corpse-like forms below. The concept was this: We are connected to those who have gone before us. We share our lives with our dead. We carry them, and they carry us. I titled the scroll Prayer for People in Cemeteries.
Two years ago, when we buried my mother alongside my twin brother, I remembered this prayer. I stood as a living body among other living bodies, our feet dense and full of blood on a field crowded with death, and watched her, too, go into the earth. And what now? I asked myself. What of us who had assembled there on the morning frost? What responsibility did we have to this person we were burying? What were we to let go of, and what were we to safeguard within us?Read More
If you happen to be in or around Ashland, OH in September, stop in at Coburn Gallery and see my work included in this exhibition addressing the concept of loss and longing in our lives. Installation and reception photos to follow.Read More
Sharing a Soul
by Martha Cheng
Images by John Hook
People used to ask fraternal twins Emily and Ross McIlroy, “What does it feel like to be a twin?” They would look at each other and say, “What does it feel like not to be one?” For 24 years, being one half of a set of twins was the only thing Emily knew. And then she lost her other half.
There’s a fascination with twins that exists everywhere, from playgrounds to psychological studies: We want to know what it’s like to have a twin, how they are the same, how they are different, what this unique relationship says about nature versus nurture. We mine twins’ lives, digging for clues about our own. But what happens when one twin dies? Is it similar to the death of another family member—another sibling, a child, a spouse? Or is it unlike the loss of any other companion?Read More
"People would rather feel anything but helpless," a psychologist specializing in trauma research recently said to me. "They'd rather feel angry than helpless. They'd rather feel guilty than helpless. They'd rather feel anything but helpless."
Assuming that this shared, extraordinary dread of helplessness is indeed humanity's most potent emotional fear, how are we ever to move past the fortress of feelings that guard against it? And how, if we somehow manage to achieve this disarmament, do we deal with the desperate sense of helplessness once we've allowed ourselves to feel it? How can one arrive at a place of strength and transformation from within utter inability, rather than be enfeebled by it?Read More
Sky Burial, the largest and most labor intensive piece I’ve been working on for Artists of Hawai‘i 2015, began at a place called Brush Creek Ranch, near Saratoga, Wyoming. As one of eight Artists in Residence at the Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts, I spent a month during the summer of 2012 exploring the Platte River Valley and working in one of the foundation’s creekside studios. When the artists arrived in early July there was a hummingbird feeder hanging outside the kitchen window, and every now and then a hummingbird would come to drink. Everyone thought it was the sweetest thing, seeing them hovering and darting around out there with their teeny wings and their iridescent fairy feathers.Read More
More on the upcoming Artists of Hawai‘i exhibition, opening July 2nd, 2015 at the Honolulu Museum of Art.
With the opening of Artists of Hawai‘i 2015 less than two months away, many of the artists are in the home stretch. Last week, curator of contemporary art James Jensen made a round of studio visits to check on their progress.
Just down the hall from Trangmar is Emily McIlroy, whose 7- by 13-foot painting Sky Burial was laid out on the floor in the center of her studio. Like Trangmar’s work, Sky Burial is deceptive at first glance. The work appears to depict the beauty and grace of seemingly harmless hummingbirds, yet upon closer inspection, a darker and more chaotic element is revealed.
The work is an attempt at reconciling how two polar-opposite qualities can exist in the same space. How can beauty and grace exist with chaos and violence? How can something be so fragile yet so aggressive? The dichotomy inherent in these questions is something McIlroy has explored since the loss of her twin brother in 2007.
How can hummingbirds represent these ideas? “They look harmless and gentle at a glance, but up close they show a darkness, they’re very combative towards each other,” says McIlroy. “When you blow these creatures up, they look like warriors.”
On a visit to Emily McIlroy's studio, curator of contemporary art James Jensen discusses with Emily (that's her on the far left) how they might arrange her work in the space. The 7x13ft painting on the floor features hummingbirds as its subjects. Like in real life, at first glance they look gentle and beautiful, but when looked at closely a darker side is revealed.
In her book Finding Beauty in a Broken World, author and conservationist Terry Tempest Williams defines “bewilderness” as “the place where the mind wanders without certainties.” These images document some of my recent perambulations through wilderness and “bewilderness,” as I look to Nature for an archive of forms, bodies, energies and processes that mirror my own internal territory. Offering moments of beauty, violence, power and fragility, the subjects of my photographs often guide my drawing and painting process, and have provided a point-of-entry into my work for Artists of Hawai‘i 2015.Read More
Presented By: CSN Performing Arts Center
“Emily McIlroy: WILDS”
"WILDS" Image, Detail, Mixed Media, Emily McIlroy
The College of Southern Nevada Fine Arts Gallery will present a solo exhibit of mixed media works by Emily McIlroy, faculty at the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa, the Honolulu Museum of Art School and the Hawai`i State Art Museum. “Emily McIlroy: WILDS” will begin Friday, February 6 and will run through Friday, March 20, 2015. Ms. McIlroy will be available to the public and will present a Gallery Talk on Friday, February 6 at 1:30 p.m. in the CSN Fine Arts Gallery.Read More
Thirteen of Hawai‘i’s most savvy women artists are showing together at Pegge Hopper Gallery in Chinatown. HPR’s Noe Tanigawa offers this glimpse of the work.
The "13 Women" are:
Reiko Brandon, Allyn Bromley, Kandi Everett, Sally French, Lynda Hess, Kloe Kang, Emily McIlroy, Mary Mitsuda, Marcia Morse, Esther Shimazu, Yida Wang, Suzanne Wolfe, and Maile Yawata.Read More
Lower Traylor Gallery
November 2, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
November 3, 12:00 p.m.
Since the death of my twin brother in May 2007, I have endured suspension between a world I cannot yet enter, and a world to which I no longer feel I belong. Once-fixed horizons became unmoored, passages between points in time collapsed, and concealed specters suddenly emerged. My current research and studio practice centers on exploring these spatial and temporal dimensions of grief. Creating large-scale works on paper, I invoke forces and life forms of the natural world as metaphors for personal and universal experiences of loss, as well as on-going processes of healing. Emerging froma repetitive cycle of rendering and erasure, the creation of my pieces parallels an endless pursuit of reconciling past with present, duration with collapse, disjunction with continuity.