For his solo exhibition Make the Mark, Saxon Quinn looks to the sprawling asphalt streetscapes of cities like Melbourne and New York and the contrasting Australian countryside for inspiration. Influenced by his travels and daily discoveries, his work incorporates stained and marked canvas as well as cement, creating a direct lineage between the experienced environment and the act of art-making.
Quinn’s work begins with the ritualistic process of preparing his surfaces. Large bolts of raw canvas are unrolled and draped from the studio ceiling. Quinn sprays these canvases with diluted paint and water, weathering the surface to a pavement-like patina. He then cuts the canvas to size and works directly on the wall, the resistance of which allows him to create marks that vary in line weight and density depending on the amount of pressure applied.
In works made from concrete, the material is poured and left to cure overnight; the end result contains qualities formed by the unpredictability of the mixing process and the unique weather conditions at the time.
This body of work is about freeing myself when it comes to creating - allowing myself to work freely and be comfortable with each stroke, stribble, word and mark that lands on the canvas. Finding joy and pleasure in the imperfection. — Saxon Quinn
Each of Quinn’s marks reacts to the next, placed freely and intuitively with a well-practiced hand. Glyphs articulated in delicate scratches of graphite suggest plants or pathways while boldly applied oil stick demarcates ovals and half moons. For Quinn, this meditative process of painting is a centering escape from scattered thoughts and activity; he states, “my works represents a balance - amongst the rough and sporadic, there’s a sense of calm and balance.”
While the concrete and layered graffiti-like mark-making asserts the urban influence of Quinn’s new body of work, the nuances of his particular symbols and palette illuminates a personal narrative that ties the tactile experience of the world around us to memory and individual significance.
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