Stephen McKenna was born in London in 1939, and was living and working in County Carlow at the time of his death in 2017.
A painter impervious to changing fashions, his work nonetheless achieved particular international prominence during the 1980s as part of the neo-classical strain of painterly postmodernism. Yet, for McKenna classicism is more a question of attitude than of subject matter. Overt pictorial references to classical antiquity gave way during the 1990s to a sophisticated exploration of the still life, the interior, the landscape and the seascape, rendering these scenes with great attention to the atmospheric conditions of light, air, space and water. He drew on the hard-won skills and knowledge of the history of painting to create contemporary works that intrigue and question, and have the wherewithal to stand the test of time.