Quinn Pictures • Jonathan Quinn

An approach to an art-making practice.

All images and words are mine unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved etc.

Please visit my old site: quinnpictures.com or drop me a line: jonathanpquinn@yahoo.com
or come visit me in my studio in Bushwick, Brooklyn

Thursday, October 16, 2014

David Kass Interview (for Art Forum)

Jonathan Quinn- Optic Intervention and Photography (September 2007) 
Jonathan Quinn experimented with conceptual art while an undergraduate at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Creating works that investigated the image making process as sculpture. Such works included ad hoc camera obscuras. Made from abandoned optical equipment. These sculptures projected the found light from any room onto the backs of old photographs. He also explored the nature of visual assumptions with sculptural works that used floating strips of clear plastic to create an illusion of “writing on water”. Exploring contemporary assumptions about multimedia, Quinn distilled this as an issue of simultaneity by setting up a series of dueling, comparative images. Two images placed side-by-side inviting cross-analysis.

Still, Quinn found the argument for conventional pictorial art to be an open question. Mired in an aesthetic impasse, disengaged from both ideological and communicative motivations, Quinn determined to reinvent the picture as a self-defined cultural practice, by creating large, simple silhouette cut-outs of cliché-icons of modern transportation. The simple, silhouetted, black and white shapes function as both a metaphor for the transition of space and offer the simplest arrangement possible to create a recognizable, three dimensional object as a two dimensional illusion.

He became involved with numerous groups of artists in New York including showings at Club 57, ABC No Rio, Nature Morte and Group Material. He slowly abandoned the use of optics in a quest to reinvent two Dimensional image-making and settled into a style of painting that could encrypt the mechanics of the optical but the act of painting allowed him to re-imagine photography as a conduit to an image making practice that suited his desire to merge aesthetic and communicative motivations.

Quinn’s latest work neither confronts or denies the mediation of the optical process. Works such as BRUNO (2006) call attention to the subject matter while PENNSYLVANIA HOUSE (2005) self-consciously exploits the evocative potential of the lens. His approach to photography investigates the act of “picture taking” as an attempt to record place and event in its simplest terms and he makes no apologies as to where he points a camera. Still, there are emotional and psychological factors that expose something of both Quinn and the world he lives in and (to him) this is ultimately what matter. The conduit of camera and lens points inward.

-David Kass (based on a discussion with J. Quinn, September 2007) 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Up, Down, Left, Right

Up, Down, Left, Right
Archival Inkjet print
October 2014

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Summer Fluff

Summer Fluff
Acrylic on Canvas
August 2014

Monday, September 22, 2014


Wall hanging sculpture
July 2014, Red Oak and Glass
24 X 9 X 4"
Edition of three

Monday, August 25, 2014


Brand-new Hurricane Flags (Made in China)
August 2014, Nylon 36X72"

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Hallway

The Hallway
Basement of The  Museum of Natural History
April 2014, Archival Inkjet 16X20"

Friday, August 8, 2014

Library and Mail Room

Library and Mailroom, Senior Housing Sandy Springs Georgia
April 2014, Archival Inkjet 16X20"

Hand and Foot

Hand and Foot
Acrylic on Belgian linen
July, 2014, 12 X16"


Acrylic on Belgian linen
June, 2014, 12 X16"

Thursday, July 24, 2014

North Pole

A digital representation of 90.000˚ N, 0.0000˚ W
from an unspecified time.
A rectangle 400 pixels by 600 pixels, #fffffff

Monday, July 14, 2014

Right Now

This is a photograph taken with an iPhone looking out an airplane window. It shows the Atlantic ocean from about 2000 feet –comprising an area less than a square mile. The shutter speed is approximately 1/125th of a second. In that incredibly short amount of time, in this extremely small piece of a vast ocean we can see the potential for hundreds of watery, sea-foam paintings. Within this one instant I've highlighted five possible frames in red. What we see here ( ironically through the conduit of photography) is inferred evidence that when gazing at a foamy, watery painting you are looking, through an apparatus of paint-on-surface, --not so much a representation of the past but a window onto the now.

See The post called: Two Small Paintings

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Tuning Fork

Wood, Aluminum, Plexiglass and photograph
18X11",  2014

Sea foam

Something/Nothing in the Mist,
Acrylic on Belgian linen
June, 2014, 24 X22"

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Two Icebergs or two images of the same iceberg?

Iceberg One and Two: 2014
Acrylic on treated plywood
24X30" each panel (24X63" total)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

CNN Headline: Malasia Flight 370

A quote from the above CNN story:
"Stephen Wood, a former CIA analyst and satellite imagery expert, said the satellites could be seeing something as simple as whitecaps, which he said can look deceptively like solid objects."

Monday, March 24, 2014

1. Post-Irony

Donald Judd, Richard Serra and the rest of them presented a community of artists with a dilemma that many saw as a dead end - a modernist endgame to be either sidestepped or endlessly restated. It was as if Minimalism either never happened or was in need of revisionMany artist's bold rejection explored formalist aesthetics and revisited earlier tropes --we saw reinterpretations of well-established artistic practices while others attempted to reconfigure and elaborate on the essence of the Minimalist agenda. For me the dilemma was about how both a rejection or embrace is fraught with irony. Judd's boxes cast a long shadow and to hide behind that shadow or pretend its not there only reinforces its imposing presence –embracing the endgame it implies.

1975: While I was in art school a new and exciting response was happening –documentary art. The evidence of earthworks, performance art and installations became more important than the activities they recorded. The artifacts of what was ephemeral or inaccessible foregrounded document-making as a worthy endeavor -on its own. The Robert Smithson film about the Spiral Jetty (1970) became a touchstone because the film itself was forced to act as the artwork's phenomenological conduit. The act of representation (shunned by proponents of Minimalism) turned in on itself as the documentary emerged questioning the relationship of artist, audience and object to the creative practice.

A reconfigured function of the document became an art in and of itself --a logical extension of the art-making practice became the formal records. During the mid-70s the John Gibson Gallery in particular championed many new artists who embraced an anti-aesthetic approach to photography. This was powerful stuff to me as I was attempting to subvert the photography making endeavor away from its conventional application --this form embraced photography's most facile application  This to me was of interest but one simple fact gave me suspicions. Photography --a document-- is always about the past.

Artists to consider: Will Insley, Barry Le Va, William Anastasi, Richard Artschwager, Hanna Wilke, Dan Christensen, Elizabeth Murray, Dennis Openheim, Alice Aycock, Bill Beckley , Roger Welch, Les Levine, Mac Adams, Robert Mangold

Friday, March 14, 2014

Photographs of the Past

Teylers Museum Haarlem, NL, Forced Perspective Photography
11X14" archival inkjet series, 2011

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Two Small Paintings

A painting can be many things --including as subordinate to a photograph.  This is not my intent. I hope that these paintings stand apart from representational documentation (a photograph) and transcend the constraints of an imprint of a moment from the past.

Somewhere (on a body of water) the confluence of light, water, wind and mist form up in the exact way they appear in the paintings at the moment they are being viewed. The paintings I make are a window onto "the now" while photography, and the opening and closing of a shutter, is always about what happened before.

Monday, March 10, 2014

More Water Photography

5X7" archival inkjet, 2013

Two states or three?

-(left) Two different snowflakes that look identical
or two different images of the same snowflake.
-(right) Three states of a tuning fork.

Computer drawings, Inkjet poster, 18X24", 2012
(based on drawings from 1976)