Lauren Quin - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Thursday, June 30, 2022 | Phillips

Create your first list.

Select an existing list or create a new list to share and manage lots you follow.

  • 'There’s just so much detail that fizzles out when you’re seeing a photo of it […] I wanted to make something that couldn’t really be encapsulated by an image.'

    Moving vertiginously between densely layered passages and more open areas of flat, peppermint green ground, Numbness is a work of remarkable painterly confidence and skill from one of Los Angeles’ most in demand young artists, Lauren Quin. Painted in the same year as her graduation from the prestigious Yale School of Fine Art in 2019 and exhibited shortly after its execution in her first solo show in her hometown If It Were A Snake It Would Have Bit Me, it clearly demonstrates the hallmarks of Quin’s electrifying visual language, combining intense chromatic juxtapositions and a dizzying array of helter-skelter lines and psychedelic knots that spiral out across its surface.

     

    Detail of the present work
    Detail of the present work

     

    Primordial Soup

     

    Recalling the fluid, biomorphic forms that animated British Surrealist Grace Palithorpe’s strange scenes of microbial and vegetal life and Max Ernst’s fascination with the microscopic and the cellular, Quin’s paintings take on microbial proportions. Appearing to twist, move, and multiply before our eye like bacteria under a microscope, the animated forms and overlayed marks of Numbness return us to the very beginning of amoebic life, quivering into being. As her gallery - Friends Indeed - have noted, ‘Drawing from a pool of the unformed and the entropic, Quin renders shapes caught in a process of emergence or recession. Parts grow out of other parts. And like bacteria, material starts to infect and invade. Her mark-making implies a passage between or network among dimensions that generate sensuality and movement.’i

     

    Max Ernst, The Gramineous Bicycle Garnished with Bells the Dappled Fire Damps and the Echinoderms Bending the Spine to Look for Caresses, 1920-21, The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Image: The Museum of Modern Art, New York/Scala, Florence, Artwork: © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2022
    Max Ernst, The Gramineous Bicycle Garnished with Bells the Dappled Fire Damps and the Echinoderms Bending the Spine to Look for Caresses, 1920-21, The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Image: The Museum of Modern Art, New York/Scala, Florence, Artwork: © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2022

     

    At once seeming to embrace the speed and over-saturation of our hyper-connected, digital age and to re-entrench the primacy of more traditional painterly techniques, Numbness combines speed and slowness, its compositional complexity only revealing itself through time spent in front of its impressive expanse. Densely layered, Quin’s paintings are gradually built up through drawing and the application of gradients, centered around the manipulated tubular forms that she has become so associated with. In this early example of her work, we can see Quinn experimenting with the flexibility and malleability of these shapes, appearing here in concentrated clusters that girder the composition, leading Quin directly to the more all-over treatment that her more recent paintings apply.

     

    The strikingly organic quality of these tubular forms works on a technical as well as visual level, the artist etching into the still-wet surface of her canvases with butter knives or medical spoons dipped in turpentine, revealing the layers of paint below and creating contrasting, overlaid ripples that vibrate across the canvas. Highly energetic, the densely patterned surface radically disrupts the viewer’s perspective in a manner that recalls the compositional complexity of Albert Oehlen’s ‘computer paintings’, and the layered multimedia landscapes of Laura Owens and fellow contemporary artists Sarah Sze and Avery Singer.

     

    Albert Oehlen,  U.D.O. 14', 2001-2005, Galeria Juana De Aizpuru, Madrid. Image: Album/Scala, Florence, Artwork: © Albert Oehlen. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2022
    [Left] Albert Oehlen,  U.D.O. 14', 2001-2005, Galeria Juana De Aizpuru, Madrid. Image: Album/Scala, Florence, Artwork: © Albert Oehlen. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2022
    [Right] Detail of the present work

     

    Initially taking on the appearance of digital collage, Quin’s careful use of gradient motifs seem to reference computer tools and image-making. However, her methods are in fact remarkably analogue, involving drawing, scratching, systematic mark-making, and a form of trace mono-printing whereby the surface of the work is gently pressed onto an ink-covered pane of glass, staining the carved line drawings. Alongside this internal interplay of etched, printed, and painted layers that Quin likens to naturally occurring moiré patterns, her tendency to work on multiple paintings at once generates a profound sense of organic growth that moves beyond the picture’s edge, closely binding these works together through their shared biomorphic structure. Involving repetition and contrast, Quin’s process creates a mutable sense of space within her canvases as her layers open, collapse, and pull apart. As Quin herself describes: ‘I’m constantly trying to change the range of depth in my paintings; it’s like the painting falls off the edges, and I keep moving into the centre. That’s how I know that a painting is finished—when I reach that point where you feel everything is flying at you and you’re just moving through it.’ii

     

    Collector’s Digest

     

    • Just this year, Lauren Quin has been the subject of significant critical attention, with works recently acquired by prestigious institutions including the Institute of Contemporary Arts, Miami, the Walker Arts Centre, Minnesota, and the X Museum in Beijing.

     

    • Quin opened her first European solo show Bat’s Belly at Loyal Gallery Stockholm in June 2021 and presented her second solo exhibition of works at Friends Indeed Galley in San Francisco in July. She has also contributed to important group shows with Blum & Poe, Los Angeles and Downs and Ross in New York.

     

    • Quin was awarded her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2015 and earned her MFA from Yale School of Art in 2019. 


    i ‘Lauren Quin’, artist biography, Friends Indeed Gallery, online.
    ii Lauren Quin, quoted in Stephanie Eckardt, ‘In the Studio With Lauren Quin, the Painter Doing Abstraction Her Own Way’, W Magazine, 8 July 2001, online.

    • Condition Report

      Request Condition Report
    • Description

      View our Conditions of Sale.

    • Provenance

      Real Pain Fine Arts, Los Angeles
      Private Collection
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      Los Angeles, East Hollywood Fine Art, Lauren Quin: If It Were A Snake It Would Have Bit Me, 29 June – 28 July 2019

3

Numbness

signed, titled and dated ‘L. Quin “Numbness” 2019’ on the reverse
oil on canvas
128.3 x 176.2 cm (50 1/2 x 69 3/8 in.)
Painted in 2019.

Full Cataloguing

Estimate
£50,000 - 70,000 

Place Advance Bid
Contact Specialist

Kate Bryan
Head of Evening Sale
+44 7391 402741
[email protected]

 

Olivia Thornton
Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Europe
+44 20 7318 4099
[email protected]

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 30 June 2022