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ged quinn at wilkinson gallery

From:     art reviews
Category: Art
Date:     03 December 2007
Time:     09:12 AM


slightly postmodern royal collegy paintings


"Quinn’s new work shows irreverent use of diffuse and destabilising imagery and referentiality to both 
undercut and play with the discourse of threat. Rich landscapes into which Quinn takes signs of 
death, suffering, redemption and humour. An inimitable mix of revelation and obfuscation, of densely 
referential imagery. In ‘Here is not the Place for Nostalgia’ the remains of a nondescript functional 
building sits abandoned and swamped in water - permeating decay into the vast landscape of Jasper 
Francis Cropsey (1823 –1900 The American Sublime). Layers of drawings and markings on the 
walls and references to movements of the past, such as the first Dada exhibition (Pig in Army 
Uniform) or The Enlightenment where descriptions of The Grotesque were visualized (a two headed 
figure drawn on wall) all suggest the passing of time. Glowing Orbs circle, hinting at the supernatural; 
a ghostly presence – while a wheelclamped Time Machine remains imprisoned in the present and 
prevented from moving back or forward in time. In ‘No one here has heard of you’, an imagined 17th 
Century Dutch flower painting, Quinn plays deliberately and ironically with the heavy symbolism of the 
genre. The vase is placed within a room - imagined scenes of the construction of the Tower of Babel 
can be seen through the window. The room is at the top of the tower that, the book of Genesis and 
apocrypha inform us, was built by a united humanity to reach the heavens. The vase has an image 
from The Exorcist (1973) where a struggle between good and evil is acted out while within the 
beautifully worked floral arrangement a skull is represented in Archimbaldesque style. In ‘The Lone 
Ranger’ Quinn has taken Ruisdael intervened with Robert Smithson’s ‘Partially Buried Woodshed’ 
ironically floating with Angel wings above the bleak moonlit winter landscape as if resurrected. Large 
billowing clouds and black smoke hover menacingly over the dead tree and derelict buildings, where 
depictions of Earth, Fire, Air and Water are seen within the rooms. A lone figure in prison uniform 
(with dog) walks through landscape carrying a bird table. ‘The Great Art of Light and Shadow’ takes 
as its backdrop Ruisdael's 'The Jewish Cemetery' (c.1679) [The Detroit version] albeit reversed, as 
though seen in a mirror. Like Ruisdael's work, highly charged with allegorical intent, Quinn works with 
a modern narrative overlaid and impregnated into the 17th century painting by using imagery of 
Andreas Baader's Stammheim cell of 1977 where the social activist turned terrorist was “found” 
dead. Quinn plays further by having the prison cell scene depicted through a Camera Obscura 
therefore suggesting something reflected from outside the picture plane." from

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