Emily Mcilroy: The Lilies How They Grow
Viewing our exhibits is free because of the generosity of Horicon Bank.
Exhibition will be on display from November 18, 2021 – January 22, 2022
I use the practice of drawing and painting as a means of connecting the grace, power, violence, and complexity found in nature, with internal landscapes of thoughts, memories, and emotions. My large-scale works on paper explore forces and elements of the natural world as metaphors for human experiences of love, loss, grief, and transformation. Densely layered and detailed, the nine panels that make up the series “The Lilies How They Grow,” are composed of organic shapes, colors, and textures reminiscent of underwater caverns, glaciers, or the delicate features of animals and plants.
Since the sudden deaths of my twin brother and mother, I have come to see our own inner worlds as “wildernesses” -spaces that harbor great dangers, as well as potential for incredible wonder and discovery. “The Lilies How They Grow” is an attempt to navigate the forces and features of this territory. It is an attempt to understand and accept an existence that is at once breathtakingly beautiful, unendurably painful, infinitely fragile, and prodigiously resilient. Created as prayers for a passageway out of all the has held me back, these pieces look towards hope and faith in the capacity to love, and for the possibility of a life aligned with presence, openness, and joy.!
The title of the series comes from a dream I had a month after the death of my twin. As I was walking along the edge of a cliff at night I slipped, and while falling, saw two small lilies that I grabbed and used to pull myself back up and out of the blackness. Now, whenever traction becomes weak, when I don’t remember who I am, I consider the lilies. I search for the handholds in the dark. I take the seeds of those life-sustaining flowers and try to grow them, not in little pairs, but in full, feracious fields.
For more information about the artist click HERE!