17–19 Davies Street,
London W1K 3DE
Acting as a makeshift solo booth for the canceled Frieze London, this storefront show puts the Chicago-born painter’s larger-than-life ruminations on identity and self-perception on full display. Each portrait references a specific memory or encounter, illustrating the subtle social shifts that accompany life during times of upheaval while offering both introspection and harrowing social critique in equal measure. Portraits such as Lunch (2020, pictured), evoke childhood nostalgia through soft, inviting facial features; others confront racial bias by portraying distorted, dehumanized subjects through the eyes of racist aggressors.
“I’ve always been interested in the ways that different groups of people view one another: how they internalize their own identities, how others perceive them, and how their own self-perceptions are physically expressed,” says Quinn, who used the Surrealist strategy of the cadavre exquis to cover parts of his compositions with construction paper as he works, so that no existing section influences the next. In doing so, he coaxes forth repressed emotions and the nuances of the subconscious: “Working with portraiture during this tumultuous and historic time, as we reckon with racial discrimination and violence in the midst of a global pandemic, requires me to consider these perceptions in an entirely new way.”