‘The Human Presence’, solo exhibition at Taylor Galleries, Dublin, September 2018.
The works in this exhibition are inspired by three different places: the farm where I grew up in East Donegal; Dublin City where I lived for twenty years; and a wild prairie near the Ragdale Foundation in Illinois where I did an artist residency in the Autumn of 2016.
Most of these compositions contain a human being in the midst of the space. These figures are the focal point of the composition, while my previous work was more about the actual landscape. The people who feature in the paintings are human beings whom I met and photographed. These people range from brief coincidental sightings and meetings to more close and meaningful relations like my parents.
The human presence impacts on the atmospheres of the paintings by the emotions they project, consciously or unconsciously. I made these paintings in my new studio in Donegal after living in Dublin for twenty years.
Ann Quinn, 2018
Every piece of work I have made is based on a specific place I have spent time in. My paintings are about places, but in fact I am going for the atmosphere. I use places in order to instil an atmosphere, it is the main element I go for.
The first real artist residency that I experienced was the farmhouse in Donegal where I grew up. That residency for me is eternal because it includes the atmospheres of my parents and my brothers and sisters, combined with the mythical, stunning landscape that surrounded the farm.
While growing up on my parent’s farm, I sometimes used to take out the huge family bible from underneath their bed and make drawings from the paintings by Rembrandt, Bosch, Caravaggio, Delacroix, and other painters. This was my only exposure to art and it made a lasting impression on me, similarly perhaps to the lasting impression that a strong childhood dreaming vision would have on the dreamer for many years to come.
As a child I had a vivid dream in which I was walking down the fields that surround the farm of my parents, climbed over a ditch and suddenly there was a red sun soaked in a massive ocean that I never knew was there before. I was full of both fear and awe and could hardly look at it. I remember thinking in the dream “Wait till I tell the others about this ocean that no one knew about”. When I woke up I was disappointed to realise the ocean didn’t exist, only those same green fields. The vision of the dream felt so real it stayed with me into adulthood, and through my life as a painter I try to recreate such sense of wonder in my work.
– Ann Quinn, December 2015