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James Quin, Constellation, York College Gallery, until June 7
3:13pm Friday 18th May 2012 in Exhibitions
JAMES Quin may call his York College Gallery exhibition Constellation, but he is not using the word in its celestial sense.
Rather than a recognisable pattern of stars, his small-scale paintings focus on “associated or similar people or things”.
In other words, between 15 and 20 paintings are worked on together to maximise the potential for each image to subtly alter those around it, like a visual virus, resulting in images that have evolved substantially from their origins.
Those images are essentially narratives that explore contemporary life, challenging people’s attitudes by showing the play between reality and unreality with unexpected and twisted outcomes.
James views the world through the filter of what the Germans call “unheimlich”, where conventions of time and place are supplanted by conspiracy, paranoia and a sense of dislocation. His artwork describes a world “peopled by the displaced within a familiar, yet alternate landscape of colliding timelines”.
“I was delighted to be invited to exhibit at the York College Gallery,” says James, who was short listed for the 2010 Northern Art Prize and Liverpool Art Prize, where he received the People’s Choice award.
“Constellation has allowed me the opportunity to show paintings that move closer to a position between abstraction and figuration.
“The process of exhibiting allows me to encounter recent work in a situation at odds with the daily routine of studio practice, reaching conclusion or completion only when it leaves the studio and stands or fails before an audience.
“This process is a fundamental and invaluable one in the ‘journey’ of the painting. Individual paintings are allowed to enter into significant dialogue with one another in ways that cannot always be predetermined and that might suggest a direction for subsequent work”.
Steven Anderson, curator of the York College Gallery, is struck by the ambiguity of James’s work. “Shapes and forms appear to come in and out of focus and as such the reading of the paintings changes with each viewing,” he says.
You can confront that ambiguity in the York College Gallery until June 7. Opening hours are Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, and Saturday, 9am to noon.