Divined from the everyday milieu of celebrity, fashion, and social anxiety, Quinn’s works coalesce as awe-striking instances of extreme beauty, aberration, and taboo, questioning the nature of desire, spirituality and the human condition in the 21st century. In these new paintings and sculptures, Quinn summons an enduring, timeless essence from the frivolity of pop culture via art history’s canonical doctrine.
Evolving the genres of 17th century painting, Quinn’s Flower Drawings and Study for a Moment of Clarity series transpose the moral heed of antiquated tradition to flamboyant tableaux of contemporary decadence. In his canvases based on Francisco de Zurbarán’s 1634 masterpiece Saint Francis of Assisi in His Tomb, Quinn supplants the ascetic monk’s image – synonymous with meekness and reformation – with a hoodie haloed in transcendental auras of graffiti-esque psychedelia; the skull clasped in the figures’ hands, a modern day death’s-head, punk emblem, pop-sinister icon, retains its power as a holy relic of contemplation.
In Quinn’s still life paintings, momento mori portent gives way to the spell of instant gratification: fruits and florae rendered with too-immaculate perfection, their exotic bounty, splashed with purifying milk, epitomises pornographic temptation. His accompanying flower sculptures similarly dazzle with their strange virtuality, their exquisite ephemerality implausibly immortalised in bronze.
Classicism and hyper-kitsch entwine in Quinn’s Portrait of Michael Jackson and Glove, styling Michael Jackson’s head and glorified hand on the Colossus of Constantine; (dis)embodied in black and white marble the King of Pop takes his place amongst the legendary and heroic, a stone idol of extant myth pre-fabricated as fragmented remains. Quinn masterfully articulates the sublime paradox of consecration’s inherent estrangement: his objects of reverence, deliciously corrupted preservations, with their arresting guise of rapturous bliss, find their reward not in consummation but desire itself, ever-possessing and insatiable.
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