Stellar (2017), an installation of portraits of early and modern masters from the Renaissance to Abstract Expressionism, introduced McGorry’s favourite and influential artists into the space of the gallery. Adopting the tondo, a circular form for portraiture that has its origins in the Renaissance, he populated the gallery walls with an A to Z of portraits that included Mantegna, Caravaggio, Newman and Woollaston. The tondos floated across the ‘sky’ with an expansive landscape drawn directly onto the wall below, inscribed and defined in charcoal with two figures at the furthest distance possible from one another – a Piero della Francesca’s angel on the left and a reclining David Hockey figure on the right.
Yet it was not merely the passage of time or a story about the history of art that McGorry was detailing through this series. The artist spent a year in Italy studying frescoes and the context in which this Medieval and Renaissance method of painting was realised through a consideration of the space and environment it occupied.The installation for Stellar was similarly about communicating directly with the gallery visitor, placing them within the artist’s world just as McGorry is drawing attention to the principles and iconography of those artists who surround him as a critical part of his universe and experience.