Ben Quinn "Night Paintings"
The effect produced by viewing Quinn’s paintings is disorienting and beautiful all at once. Through a process of thin watercolor paintings layered on top of ink-transferred photographs, a three dimensional image comes through that is elusive, textured, and pleasing to the eye. For the exhibition Night Paintings, Quinn focused on several dark works on canvas that at points resemble minimalist color-field works, yet in fact are fully representational. In Inside a Skull (Dark Abstract) Quinn takes an almost pitch black photograph of the interior of a human skull as a jumping-off point for a highly nuanced interpretation of a dark void, filled with small specks of color, textured marks, and muted swashes of color. Through this work the idea of darkness expands into something reinterpreted and expanded upon, and is reminiscent of closing one's eyes and pressing your palms into the covered corneas. The painting offers the perspective that even in darkness, there is color.
In Deep Hollow, this concept of light within darkness is continued, but shifted with the flash photograph of a forest at night. The composition is extremely asymmetrical, to a point of uncomfortability, and as the eye moves across the dark plane, forms emerge made up of only marks in black and deep blue. A forest peers back through the blackness out of view. The painting is a direct link to the artist’s personal interests in the unknown, and the feeling of existing in between worlds. His technique of using light within darkness creates a psychedelic trick of the mind, making one question what lies beyond our capacity to see.
Night Paintings highlights the constant relationship between light, darkness, and color. The artist believes in using every color of the rainbow, as it relates to the totality of the visual spectrum of the human experience. Quinn’s work submerges one into the possibility of color, and convinces the naked eye to see beyond the object itself.
Quinn enjoys the idea of impermanence and discovering the communication between the supernatural and his practice. With his star paintings, there is a dance that transpires between his brush and the fluidity of the star itself. The piece pulsates, and the artist relies on his relationship to other worldly possibilities to translate its message to the canvas. Overall, he hopes to constantly create a sense of possibility that our human experience has much to offer us, if we are open to experiencing our lives like a psychedelic dream.