Friday 28 October 2016

What lies beneath: Crop by David Quinn

Crop by David Quinn, acrylic gouache, oil bar, pencil, canvas on plywood courtesy Taylor Galleries

Niall MacMonagle

Published 16/11/2015 | 02:30

Crop by David Quinn
Crop by David Quinn

An empty church: a calm, wide space; statues standing still, bare rows of seats and your eyes look up to a high ceiling. And beyond, perhaps, to somewhere altogether elsewhere. A David Quinn work of art creates a similar effect: a special, calming, spiritual, nourishing feeling.

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For Quinn "the main source of inspiration is other art" and, quoting the American artist Robert Motherwell, he claims that a painter carries "the whole culture of modern painting in his head. It is his real subject, of which everything he paints is both an homage and a critique and everything he says a gloss". Once drawn to "the brash colour and pop sensibility of Warhol and Basquiat", Quinn later came to appreciate "the more subtle expressionism of Cy Twombly, Brice Marden, Agnes Martin and Eva Hesse".

He likes "the direct tactile engagement with materials" believing that "it's something we yearn for as humans". It's why he prefers a hand-made table to a mass-produced one: "I love the act of mark-making, the sensitivity and fine tuning needed to find that ideal pressure, angle and rhythm that give the quality of line I'm looking for."

Quinn's work - "instinctive and driven by feeling" reveals itself as process. Colour, shape, marks create a stillness. Using glass, plywood, screws, canvas, it is work both subtle and quietly stunning and must be seen for real.

Currently artist in residence at the Tony O'Malley Studio, the materials for crop are unconventional and "trial and error play a big part in how I work". Quinn had been working on huge canvases but cut them up and stuck one section on a piece of plywood bought at the Farmers Co-op in Callan. Painting over the canvas again created an interesting texture and then cropping the image worked on two separate sections until eventually Quinn stuck them back together to create this work. "I just know I have to make things to look at", and though other artists may be his main source of inspiration his own work is integrity itself. Unique and beautiful.

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