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  • Provenance

    Wilkinson Gallery, London

  • Catalogue Essay

    ‘‘Claude Lorrain is ideal, his paintings are idealised versions of an idea that did not really exist.” GED QUINN
    ‘‘You have a sense that you understand it at some point but I’m not sure whether it’s conscious or not.” GED QUINN

    Things are Exactly as they Seem, from 2007, is a work by Cornwallbased artist Ged Quinn. Quinn has rapidly come to prominence in the international art scene through the aesthetic and imaginative potency of his practice.

    Quinn’s paintings are rendered with astonishing skill as they interweave provocative contemporary themes through a classically derived landscape. Initially Quinn’s meticulous painting suggests an idyllic pastoral scene in the European classical style of Claude Lorrain, but closer scrutiny reveals Quinn’s mock classical landscape subverted by unsettling visions and contemporary allegorical symbols. The dark lingering forms of recent history encroach upon the idealised and idyllic landscape.

    In Things are Exactly as they Seem, as with Claude’s own classical visions, the viewer’s eye is drawn to the crumbling architectural structures of antiquity and on to the distant hills and valleys saturated in a golden haze. Yet the murky decay enveloping the dilapidated ambulance in the foreground punctures this idyllic scene. With such incongruities, Quinn shrewdly interrogates not only our preconceived cultural identity but our notions of historical truth. His landscapes successfully combine a startling vision of both the fallen contemporary world and the stylized escapism of the classical and he ironically invites the viewer to question which scene his spectator is appraising. What in Claude’s work might be a shepherd seated under a tree is transformed by Quinn into a painter, a voyeur, a commentator on the past and the present – this unsettling dialogue between past and present is intrinsic to all of Quinn’s work and source of not just wit but serious considerations.

37

Things are Exactly as they Seem

2007
oil on canvas
183 x 233 cm (72 x 91 3/4 in)

Estimate
£60,000 - 80,000 ‡ ♠

Sold for £91,250

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

10 October 2012
London