In this body of work the artist reflects on contemporary history, its relationship to the media and to our greatest hopes and fears. The paintings and Jacquard tapestries here use one of the oldest forms of art – the history painting – and bring it into the present day. The series uses recent images of global conflict taken directly from the media, enlarged and painted with oil on canvas or woven in silk and wool. Individuals are focused on and singled out and although the works comment on the all-pervasive and intrusive nature of our media, they are also intimate portraits of people actively caught up in history. The works reflect on our digitised, globalised world; focusing on how collective memory can create our historical past. The tapestries continue a literal manifestation of the idea of history as an interweaving of different threads or stories, as well as a modern-day, analogue version of the pixelated, media image. Jacquard weaving was, in effect, the first computerised image created using punch cards on automated looms. Quinn transforms the pixel into the physical junction between coloured threads. This huge number of separate, weak threads woven into an immensely strong tapestry also seem to reflect how these bottom-up riots and revolutions appear to emerge from a meeting of individual people, often mediated by social media, into a strong political force. To reinforce this democratic subject matter the tapestries are displayed on the floor of the exhibition space or are hung from the ceiling - not on the wall like traditional celebratory tapestries of a war or battle created for the palace of a king.
To read more about the works in this collection click here for a press release from the exhibition or here for an interview with Quinn.