Saxon Quinn (AU)
How Good is a Smile
Galleri Christoffer Egelund proudly presents How Good is a Smile, the first solo show in Denmark by Australian artist Saxon Quinn whose abstract works contain references to childhood, consumerism and the evolution of art. The exhibition, which consists of entirely new paintings on canvas and sculptures, can be seen at Bredgade 75 in Copenhagen from the 23rd of April until the 22nd of March 2024.
Saxon Quinn’s paintings astonish the viewer with their innovative combination of the abstract and the figurative, the quiet and the bold. These are paintings that grapple with the complicated heritage of Modernism.
They are reminiscent of some of the very first forays into abstract art by artists like Joan Miró and Vasilij Kandinsky with their bright primary colors popping off a neutral background, yet they also include inspirations from 1950s and 1960s High Modernism such as the rough textures of Jackson Pollock and Antoni Tàpiez.
Like the works of these pioneers of abstract art, Saxon Quinn’s paintings are carefully balanced, with great attention to the graphical composition of the elements on the picture plane. The sometimes-childlike lines and symbols like stars, rainbows and kites bring to mind a famous quote by one of the primary trailblazers of abstract art, Picasso: “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.”
But it doesn’t take long to notice that Saxon’s works are not just the formal experiments of Modernism. Symbols of consumerism like the famous Nike checkmark and references to street culture mix with the Modernist brushstrokes. Fast cars, racing flags, basketballs, fashionable shoes and laughing faces intermingle. Are they laughing because they are having a good time or are they laughing menacingly? As Saxon Quinn himself says: “An authentic smile can be so hard at times, yet simple and easy at others. They can mean nothing and yet mean everything. When real, they can be powerful, warming, calming, reassuring, loving, joyful and healing.” At the core of the Modernist world view is the unrelenting search for a pure formal art of graphical two-dimensional visuality that existed in a realm apart from the dreariness of everyday life and the physical world. But over time, this at the time avant-garde artistic expression has fostered some of the most expensive paintings sold, and thus, it has become a part of the capitalistic circulation of status symbols – just like the newest Nike designer sneakers and the cars we dream about. Thus, Saxon Quinn presents us with the aspirational idealism that often characterizes an artistic idea when it is first conceived and juxtaposes it with the symbol for the symbol’s sake that it is in danger of becoming.
Another remarkable feature of Saxon’s works is his way of continuing the painting onto the frame. In previous centuries, the frame was an elaborate work of art in itself, one that you proudly let accent your priced possession in order to underline its worth. But over the course of the 20th century, the frame disappeared – the grand work of art was to be experienced in a pure, self-contained form, free from outside distractions. Even though his art is reminiscent of the art of the 20th century, Saxon Quinn breaks the tradition of the self-contained work of art, instead letting the work overflow and continue onto the frame. Instead of something that is closed off to the world, the work and its abundant energy become something that cannot be contained.
Saxon Quinn (b. 1986 in Victoria, Australia) is one of his country’s most promising up and coming young artists. He has exhibited at galleries across the world in cities like New York, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Sydney, Berlin, London and Copenhagen and has participated in art fairs in Sydney, Seoul, Taiwan and Madrid.
Join us at the exhibition opening at Bredgade 75 on the 23rd of February 2024 from 16:00 to 19:00. For further information and sales requests, please contact the gallery at: email@example.com or at +45 33 93 92 00. Visit us at Bredgade 75, DK-1260 Copenhagen K, Denmark. Opening hours: Wednesday-Friday 15:00-18:00, Saturday 12:00-16:00, or by appointment.