Phil Irish

Home: Elora, Ontario
Title: Hope, My Love
Media: Oil on panel / huile sur panneau
Dimensions: 80 x 60 cm

This painting powerfully reflects this moment in my life, and in the life of my sitter. The desire to get this moment right – not to sensationalize the image, but to understate it in a way that honours Anna’s whole person – was the largest challenge of this piece. Anna had a mastectomy, due to breast cancer, while pregnant with our first child. Now, 6 years on, we are feeling confident enough to have another child. The traces of these pains and glories are marked upon her body in a way that is powerful and very moving. In wanting to reflect upon and convey this moment, she has graciously allowed this very vulnerable portrait of herself. The face, in particular, is a very nuanced challenge to paint. Here, I see a complex mixture of vulnerability, sorrow, a fighting spirit, and love. In making this, I have wondered about how it will be received — hoping that it will add courage and dignity to others whose stories are similar to our own.


1995 B.A. (honours) with distinction. University of Guelph. Specialized honours in Fine Art.


2007 Twas Now, The Latcham Gallery, Stouffville, Ontario.
2006 Paths We Have Taken, Robert Langen Gallery, Wilfred Laurier University, Waterloo, ON, Paths We Have Taken, Minarovich Gallery, Elora Centre for the Arts, Elora, Ontario.
2005 Whereabouts, web-project for Oakville Galleries, Oakville, Ontario.
2004 Vanishing Points. LOOP, Toronto, Ontario.
2002 History’s Ocean, Visual Arts Centre of Clarington, Bowmanville, Ontario.
2001 Lake Wow! LOOP, Toronto, Ontario
2000 Treacherous Beauty. Michael Gibson Gallery, London, Ontario



Addressing Oakville, Oakville Galleries, Oakville, Ontario., Symposium d’art contemporain de Baie-Saint-Paul, Baie-Saint-Paul, Quebec., California Current: Sea Change. Bay Model Visitor Centre, Sausalito, California, USA., Baghdad Museum. Visual Arts Centre of Clarington, Bowmanville, Ontario., Latcham Gallery, Stouffville, Ontario, and Propeller Centre for the Visual Arts, Toronto.


S.O.S. Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery, Owen Sound, Ontario, Landlocked. AKA Artist Run Centre, Saskatoon, SK.


Altar. Phil Irish + Daniel Schneider. Loop, Toronto, ON., Water. James Baird Gallery, St. John’s, Newfoundland., Transmissions. Lonsdale Gallery, Toronto, Ontario.


Jeux de la Francophonie International Painting Competition, National Gallery, Ottawa., Salon international du flou, L’Oeil de poisson, Québec, Québec


Sondes, Maison de la culture Frontenac, Montreal, Québec, Snapshot, Contemporary Museum, Baltimore, MA, USA, Painters and Poets, Case Studies,York Quay, Toronto, Ontario., How do you grow a lover? Phil Irish and Candida Girling. Loop , Toronto, Ontario, IGNITE, touring exhibition: Biola University, CA; Harding University, AR; Te Paske Art Gallery, IA; Concordia University Gallery, WI; Houghton College, NY; Roberts Wesleyan College, NY


2006 City of Kitchener, Kitchener, Ontario.
1997, 2005 Symposium d’art contemporain de Baie-Saint-Paul, Baie-Saint-Paul, Quebec.
2001 Jeux de la Francophonie, Ottawa/Hull.


2005 Canada Council: Project Grant
2001, 2002, 2005 Ontario Arts Council: Exhibition Assistance Grant
1997, 1998, 1999 Ontario Arts Council: Emerging Artist Grant