After completing his postgraduate Art History degree at the University of St Andrews Rory has been working full-time as an artist, with both his parents professional painters, he has been taught to paint from an early age. However, it wasn’t until after University that Rory started to paint full-time in his parents’ studio space in Carnoustie. His parents extensive experience has been passed down to Rory through a traditional studio education since he started working as their assistant in 2010 and he continued his artistic training in tandem with his academic work at the University of St Andrews and after graduating he built a body of work in order to exhibit paintings.
Rory's artistic practice fuses his formal art historical education and the traditional mode of oil painting in order to reframe Renaissance and Baroque painting in the twentyfirst century. Through juxtaposition and adjustment of scale he intends to alter the perception of works by canonical artistic figures — such as Diego Velazquez, Anthony van Dyck or Luca Giordano. These painted figures are removed from their original context and placed into the palm of a hand, at the top of a cloud or submerged in inky black water. It is through this change that Rory intends to charge these historical works with alternate meanings of a contemporary relevance.
Rory's largest art historical work centred on the walking art of Hamish Fulton, with whom he met and interviewed during the writing process of his postgraduate thesis. In addition to walking art, he has written extensively on documentary photography, land art, non-Western modern art, and portrait miniatures. It is with this contemporary focussed art historical background that he approaches the work of the Old Masters in his own painting: probing his own practice continuously and questioning its relationship with society in the twenty-first century.