St. Louis artist Ron McIlvain began thinking about a career in art as a sophomore in college when by chance he took drawing and design classes while earning a BS in Education. To his surprise, he was able to draw things realistically and finished an MA in painting and sculpture from the University of Kansas. It was during graduate school that he began to appreciate the significance of abstract painters like Richard Diebenkorn, Clyfford Still, and Robert Motherwell. These pillars of abstract expressionism would influence McIlvain's entire career, like these artists of the past his work entertains the intellectual nature of paintings formal capabilities to manipulate the senses through space, line, form, and color.
McIlvain's work builds on abstract expressionism through a lyrical exploration into the gestural quality of line and mark-making, producing work that is an investigation of the materiality of paint. By embracing experimentation and nurturing a painting from start to finish with suggestions from his wife who's thinking he trusts, McIlvain achieves an amalgam of painting languages that reveal the complexity of vision and its innate connection to feeling. In this sense, McIlvain's work appears similar to the practices of contemporary artists like Wallace Whitney and Diana Copperwhite. Like these contemporaries, McIlvain finds the abstract quality within the lived experience and uses complex combinations to interpret how the mind processes the outside world.