Emily Mcilroy’s Painting ‘Between Two Waters’ Exhibited on Campus

"Between Two Waters" by Emily Mcilroy

“Between Two Waters” by Emily Mcilroy

By Tia Keys

Special event held in honor of Hawaiian-artist Emily Mcilroy at the Fine Arts Gallery at College of Southern Nevada was emotional. Mcilroy’s art was inspired by the loss of her twin brother who died.

A Gallery Talk held Feb. 6, 2015 for more than 20 students and other attendees allowed Mcilroy to share her experience as an artist. The event was held a day before her and her twin’s birthday, which she marks in remembrance.

Wilds, an eight-canvas exhibit, displayed Mcilroy’s work of ocean-themed images. Her newest piece “Between Two Waters” was the focus of the show.

“The piece is about existing between different spaces: life and wherever my brother is,” Mcilroy said.

Inspiration for this painting came from Mcilroy’s need to heal after the loss of her brother. She would swim through 40-feet waves noticing elements of life and death in the Hawaiian ocean. She saw underwater glimpses of corals, shells, sea life, decayed organism and endless waves that she later captured in blends of charcoal, pastels and oil paints. The process of this new artistic creation helped her heal in some ways.

Mcilroy uses gigantic sand papers to create her artwork.

“There’s actually a hundred drawings underneath the ‘Between Two Waters’ painting,” said Mcilroy, during the lecture. “For nine months, I would just come and go, erasing and recreating. I just viewed it as having a conversation with my piece using sandpaper to scrape and scar the surface.”

“The piece that most defined the creation of this body of work is ‘Between Two Waters’ for sure, which is what I talked about most in the gallery,” Mcilroy said.

Many people who attended the art exhibit thought the work was fascinating.

Allicia Westlund, CSN student, said, “Some of the strokes are very aggressive in Mcilroy’s ‘Between Two Waters’ painting. I can feel the sadness amongst her work.”

“I enjoyed the painting titled ‘Between Two Waters’ because I appreciate the fact that she refuses to follow the painting process; it is created off how she feels,” said Atessa Astrope, who attended the showcase.

“I think her message would be the fleeting nature of life,” said Jeff Fulmer, visual resources specialist at the Gallery. Fulmer gravitated to another piece displayed called “Sky Burial”. “I also feel that looking at the humming birds; her work is fleeting with excitement.”

“I am unsure of what is next because I haven’t started on anything new but ‘Sky Burial’ and a few smaller pieces will be on display during the Honolulu Museum of Art’s Biennial of Hawai’i Artists X,” Mcilroy said.

Photo courtesy of Jeff Fulmer

Photo courtesy of Jeff Fulmer

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