Rag and Knife

Jim Gilroy's painting has gradually evolved from the purely figurative to a shimmering abstraction, frequently imbued with a sense memory of primeval landscapes; ancient cities appearing out of morning mist, lost roads to far places, to light and redemption after a long journey through chaos and night.

A highly sensual form of abstraction, evoked by the delicate manipulation of sensual resources, wax, oil, vellum and fine linen, materials surely handled, laid down with certainty and grace. Many of the recent paintings seem to meet at a point where landscape encounters pure abstraction. They conjure the changing colors of water and sky, the movement and specific density of light, especially at what Gilroy calls "the time of the saints", those few moments between the total dark of night and the light of day, when the darkness reveals a paler blue, the infinite depths of the sky at dawn.

Gilroy was profoundly affected by the events of 9/11/01, which he witnessed up close. In the three years since then has distilled and subdued that disorder and tragedy into exquisite images of serenity and beauty. There is tranquillity in the new paintings, space for silence and reflection, balanced with a great affection for the witless majesty of pure color.

Working with 'a rag and a knife,' Jim Gilroy has pushed his art to a new level.

—Max Blagg

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