An exhibition of new paintings by Marc Quinn shows round canvases each depicting in gigantic scale the iris of a human eye – turbulently streaked and spotted, suffused with bright colours, and highly individual. Although photo-realistic, the disembodied images might equally serve as renditions of whirling interstellar space.
Recurring themes in Quinn’s work – the body and identity, flesh and the spirit – are examined at their foundation: since pre-Biblical times the eyes have been likened to representations of the soul.
Quinn considers the eyes to be “doors of perception… the link between us and the world”. As in the seminal work ‘Self’ from 1991 – in which the artist’s head was cast in his own blood and frozen – these irises show Quinn’s fascination with bringing the inside out. He says “they are like a leakage of the vivid interior world of the body to the monochrome world of the skin”.
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