an exhibition of recent work
by David Quinn
in Taylor Galleries, Dublin
October 22nd - November 14, 2015
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A few thoughts on David Quinn's work:

According to Gertrude Stein "description is explanation" and arming oneself with such a maxim provides a useful way in to the work of David Quinn. But firstly, let’s pull the focus a little wider and provide some context for what we see. With a background in design Quinn, like a number of current artists in Ireland, avoided the tropes and travails of studying fine art in college, concentrating on skilling-up through practice. For his inspiration he looked across the Atlantic to painters such as Cy Twombly and Robert Ryman to point the way and indicate a sensibility. Twombly’s canvases teem with wildness and order, with concept and sensuality; they are writ large, all encompassing, yet their drama plays out within the frame, behaving themselves within the edges of his canvases. Ryman’s work can begin with those edges. One must examine the delicate construction of his pieces to build up to the whole. It is the opposite of the normal, where one perceives the whole and then roots out the constituents. With Ryman one must examine the notes to hear the chord.

And so with David Quinn there is this oscillation between work that meets us head on, whole, and work that commences with detail, section, before building into its wholeness. The latter work takes its vocabulary from off-cuts – odd shapes – of plywood, MDF, Perspex. These elements are scored and bound together with glue or screw. Their presence on the gallery wall seems to challenge the order of architecture, to undermine the plumb and the level, to tilt us into asking where they get their authority from, how they can, from such abject origins, get to take the place of 'art'. His larger works impact first and then invite analysis, proving that their 'overall-ness' is won through dense, obsessive actions. And it is this notion of labour, of work, that unites his two approaches. It is his valuing of toil that can take the ordinary and transform it into art.

Patrick T. Murphy
Royal Hibernian Academy