Quinn Pictures • Jonathan Quinn

An approach.

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

Please visit me: quinnpicture.com

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

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

2. Post-Irony: Manifesto

  1. Pure art: If it can function as something other than an object for contemplation and can function as an illustration then its an illustration -not fine art.
  2. A Window or a Mirror: If it exists as pure representation of a physical reality than its illustration. If it reflects the audience then its a mirror. My water paintings are of a theoretical now. Somewhere on the planet –in some ocean, sea or lake– the configuration of elements exist in that same set and shape of water, light and dark at the moment one is viewing my pictures.
  3. Trust: That the image depicts a physical arrangement that acceptably confirms what would reasonably assume to be an accurate depiction of the mediated and cognitive real.
  4. Aura: The distinction between a fingerprint and a signature reflects the distinction between authorship and ownership. 
  5. Post-Irony: Reject the idea that minimalism is reductive -an outmoded explanation reexamined for a post modern state. Minimalism was the cusp. Metaphors are in play.

Artist statement


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

2006 interview on the water photos on my website

 Link to the old website discussed below: www.quinnpictures.com

35mm out of date Ektachrome frame
from an Olympus Trip 35 with a fungus-damaged lens.
November 2003

Interview: with Gerry Kass 03.12.06

Technically; what are these images made from? (the water pictures on the old website)
The series is very conventional --traditional photographs made with cameras, lenses and film. I used a variety of cameras. Everything from expensive antiques to two dollar toys with plastic lenses --point and shoot cameras as well. I also use a wide range of films. Out of date or end of stock.  Sometimes I leave a roll of film on the radiator. I've destroyed several cameras in the water while squeaking out one last roll. Its one big experiment. Maybe in that sense this series is not so typical.
But there is a computer involved?
I bring them into the computer after development for minor adjustments with color, contrast etceteras but out of this series I think I've cropped maybe one or two and even then just to straighten out the angle. Generally, I don't crop. The image corrections are very minimal --if at all. I edit out a lot of shots that don't quite please me. Whats on the film is what you are looking at on your screen.
Why not just shoot digital?
Yes I do shoot digital, but not this (2003-6) series. The relationship between the way film interacts with light as it travels through a lens; the subject matter (fluid water in natural states of motion) lends itself nicely to the relationship and understanding we have with how an image is formed. Well, at least I think so.
What do you mean by relationship?
There are plenty of people that could explain the technical better than me but we are on a cusp. Issues for traditional photography like the way light refracts, film grain and so forth are such a part of the language of photography but it is not simply evolving. In favor of clarity, much of these elements have disappeared and are disappearing. I should say that for the sake of clarity, the idiosyncrasies of film are all but gone. Film will soon be over. There will be a story in the news. Kodak (et al) will stop supplying film but water and foam, light and air will always form up to the speed of cognition.
I hope not. I love digital, it has profoundly changed the image making practice. Have you ever seen so many people making pictures? It seems like everywhere I go I see a digital camera in use. The function of photographic image-making as a cultural practice is (once again) being redefined. I too am marveling at this evolving form. Maybe this series is (in part) a celebration of this film-endgame we are in.
Im trying to understand your rule book.
If there is a discernible process it relates to ideas about the ability to evoke emotion. But there are interesting issues I am attempting to exploit regarding that process and this waning era of a dark box, glass, chemical and paper. There is an emotional component to this. Wait, maybe I mean romance.
When did this begin?
Heres the confession. I was taking these kinds of pictures long before digital. That is close ups of water creating abstractions. really its the same picture over and over. I even spent some time trying to paint this kind of image and I imagine I will return to it. Pictures aren't photos and paintings aren't pictures.
So the technique is just a part of the story.
I hope a small one, I would hope the pictures themselves transcend any formula regarding the process or relation the process has in time. The photographs are pictures. What you see is what you get.
So then, influences.
For this series? Two painters: Arthur Dove and Marsden Hartley. My interests here are about exploring early definitions of modern pictorial abstraction. How pictorially, light and shadow organize themselves in an organic way --obeying physical properties-- that sort of thing.
Where is your commitment towards this (as you call it) practice as a convention for yourself.
I am butting up against a wall. Two walls really that do make me a little uncomfortable. First, as I am exploring convention; some of this work could fall into stock images. Context and authorship becomes the a driving explanation. If I attempt to make art that can’t be confused as art I am again relying on a context to define the work. It is an interesting conundrum. Second, image making practice is fully engaged in virtual, digital method. Any one of my pictures could have been built from pixels bypassing anything to do with freezing light and time with a camera. This idea extended out from image making long ago. Take for example a fake Rolex verses a digital reconstruction of  a film based photograph there are interesting mimetic cross-hairs going on here. Or, at least I hope.

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 --creating works that investigated the image-making process as sculpture. Such works included ad hoc camera obscures made from abandoned optical equipment. These sculptures projected the found-light from any room onto the backs of old photographs. He also created sculptural works that used floating strips of clear plastic to create an illusion of “writing on water”. Exploring contemporary assumptions about multimedia, By setting up a series of dueling, comparative images --two images placed side-by-side he invites 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.
 (Work from the 70s)

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 apparatus. His painting process allowed him to re-imagine photography.

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
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

Why water paintings?: Photographs are imprints of the past. A painting can be something else.
Above 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 area of a vast ocean we can see the potential for a limitless number of watery, sea-foam paintings. I've highlighted five possible frames in red.
I am making the argument that --when gazing at a foamy, watery painting-- you are looking, through an apparatus --not a representation of the past as in the above photograph-- but a window onto "the now".  In the time you spend gazing at a watery painting (somewhere out at sea) the exact event is occurring.
With these painting, my intention is to create a kind of anomalous reality rather than representational abstractions.

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: Perspective

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, Susan Sontag, Elizabeth Murray, Dennis Openheim, Alice Aycock, Bill Beckley , Roger Welch, Les Levine, Mac Adams, Robert Mangold