David Quinn was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1971.

He mostly makes series of small abstract paintings on paper and wood.

He has exhibited widely at home and abroad and had solo shows in Dublin, Belfast, Sydney, London, Brussels, Tokyo and will be showing in Seoul in June 2019.

In 2O17 he moved to Shillelagh, County Wicklow where he lives and works with his wife and two sons.

He is represented by the following galleries:

Taylor Galleries - Dublin
Purdy Hicks - London
Rossicontemporary - Brussels
Yanagisawa Gallery - Urawa City

David Quinn’s studio is a small, white, rectangular space. Small abstract paintings, the size of old paperbacks that can be nestled in one hand, hang in a line at eye-level on opposite walls. Each painting is a unit, both unique and part of a greater whole: words in a sentence, notes in a tune, hours in a day. At first glance they appear to be simple works, minimal and understated, but look again. Focus on the edges, see the layers built up like strata in sedimentary rock. Each layer is a page, a painting that Quinn has stuck down, studied, added to and covered up.

Working on several paintings at once, Quinn considers them as markers of time. They are abstract and yet, they represent time worked and time spent in contemplation. Another definition of abstract – a summary of the contents of a book, article, or speech – is also relevant. The finished paintings are summaries of the process of their creation: concentrated forms or essences.

Although Quinn has produced work of various scales, including large paintings such as Plan included in his solo exhibition Seam at Taylor Galleries, Dublin, in 2O15, he keeps returning to the format 8 x 5 inches, the size of the sketchbooks he used as a design student. He finds that this scale allows him to concentrate on his process and work on numerous pieces at once. In an interview from 2014, Frank Auerbach explained his dedication to using the same models for decades.

The closer one is to something, the more likely it is to be beautiful. … The whole business of painting is very much to do with forgetting oneself and being able to act instinctively.*

Quinn’s familiarity with this format allows him to move beyond conscious thought to an instinctive, meditative state that he finds productive.

Born in Dublin in 1971, Quinn is a resolutely urban artist. He relishes the textures, patterns and materials of the city. The scars and blemishes of the pavement are as likely to provide inspiration as his artistic heroes who include Cy Twombly, Robert Ryman, Agnes Martin and Alberto Giacometti. His interest in Wabi-sabi, an aesthetic approach that draws on Buddhism and the Japanese world view centred on the acceptance of transience and imperfection and the celebration of the imperfect, impermanent and incomplete, is also evident in works which are the product of a meditative process of mark making, repetition and erasure. Perhaps inevitably during this process, hints of images or landscapes emerge. When they do, Quinn is quick to pull back from the precipice of representation. It is this tension between abstraction and representation, between mark making and erasure that gives his work its power. In those paintings where Quinn’s marks are repetitive and grid like, the image can suggest the visual equivalent of a low hum or a persistent buzz. Although abstraction is often linked to Jazz or the work of experimental composers such as John Cage, the aural equivalents of Quinn’s work are more biological than musical: a heartbeat, breathing or the whoosh of blood flowing through veins. This echoes Quinn’s realisation that for him art is not a choice, it is an instinctive biological function – a necessity.

Riann Coulter

Curator at F.E. McWilliam Gallery & Studio

*Frank Auerbach to Hannah Rothschild in Frank Auerbach: An interview

with one of our greatest living painters, The Telegraph, 3O September 2O13.

Gana Art Hannam
5 - 30 June 2019

Solo Exhibitions

2019 new work, Gana Art Hannam, Seoul, Korea
2019 paintings, Amaneya Gallery, Fukuoka, Japan
2O18 paintings, Yanagisawa Gallery, Saitama, Japan
2O18 paintings, Rossicontemporary, Brussels, Belgium
2O18 paintings, WCAC, Skibbereen, Ireland
2O18 new paintings, Purdy Hicks, London, England
2O17 undersong, Taylor Galleries, Dublin, Ireland
2O17 new work, Solstice Arts Centre, Navan, Ireland
2O16 Start, Saatchi Gallery, London w/ Gibbons&Nicholas
2O16 blank, Fenderesky Gallery, Belfast, Northern Ireland
2O15 seam, Taylor Galleries, Dublin, Ireland
2O14 dunkelbunt, Taylor Galleries, Dublin, Ireland
2O12 pewter, Taylor Galleries, Dublin, Ireland
2O12 d-esque, Fenderesky Gallery, Belfast, Northern Ireland
2O11 murmur, Taylor Galleries, Dublin, Ireland
2O1O margin, Taylor Galleries, Dublin, Ireland
2OO6 new work, Taylor Galleries, Dublin, Ireland
2OO4 lost and found, Blue Leaf Gallery, Dublin, Ireland
2OO3 new work, 412 Harold's X Road, Dublin, Ireland
2OO1 new work, Daintree, Dublin, Ireland
2OOO new work, Side Door, Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin, Ireland
1999 new work, SDCC HQ, Ireland
1999 new work, Melt, Dublin, Ireland
1999 new work, Jute, Dublin, Ireland
1997 new work, Maudespace, Sydney, Australia
1995 charlie pelican one show belly, Head Gallery,
Ormond Multi-Media Centre, Dublin, Ireland

Group Exhibitions

2O19 Buildings are like Birds, Fenderesky Gallery, Belfast
2O19 London Art Fair w/ Purdy Hicks
2018 PULSE Miami w/ Purdy Hicks
2018 VUE Art Fair w/ Taylor Galleries
2018 SOLO SHOW Seoul w/ GanaArt
2018 KIAF 2O18 Seoul w/ Purdy Hicks
2O18 Contemporary Istanbul w/ Gibbons & Nicholas
2O18 Art Brussels w/ Rossicontemporary
2O18 London Art Fair w/ Purdy Hicks
2O17 Changing Group Show, Fenderesky Gallery, Belfast
2O17 VUE Art Fair, Dublin w/ Taylor Galleries
2O17 PULSE Miami w/ Purdy Hicks
2O17 KIAF 2O17 Seoul w/ Purdy Hicks
2O17 London Art Fair w/ Purdy Hicks
2O17 Dirty Filthy Paintings, BSA Project Space, Australia
2O17 Small, Purdy Hicks, London
2O16 CONTEXT Miami w/ Gibbons & Nicholas
2O16 Art on Paper  New York w/ Gibbons & Nicholas
2O16 VUE Art Fair, Dublin w/ Taylor Galleries
2O16 CONTEXT  New York w/ Gibbons & Nicholas
2O16 Changing Group Show, Fenderesky Gallery, Belfast
2O16 Two Birds / One Stone, Farmleigh Gallery, Dublin
2O16 Island, Fenderesky Gallery, Belfast
2O15 VUE Art Fair, Dublin w/ Taylor Galleries
2O14 The Opening of the New Space, Fenderesky Gallery, Belfast
2O14 VUE Art Fair, Dublin w/ Taylor Galleries
2O14 White Hours, Studio Apothiki, Paphos, Cyprus
2O13 RHA Annual Exhibition, Dublin
2O13 Éigse, VISUAL, Carlow
2O13 VUE Art Fair, Dublin w/ Taylor Galleries
2O13 Gallery Friends, Lavit Gallery, Cork
2O12 Proper Nouns and Adjectives, Fenderesky Gallery, Belfast
2O12 VUE Art Fair, Dublin w/ Taylor Galleries
2O12 Marathon Irish, Dialogue, London
2O12 Fionnuala D'Arcy, Alacoque Davey, David Feeley,
K.K. Godsee, David Quinn, The Engine Room Gallery, Belfast
2O12 Oak, Killenure Castle, Co. Tipperary
2O11 VUE Art Fair, Dublin w/ Taylor Galleries
2O1O Éigse 3O Year Retrospective, VISUAL, Carlow
2OO9 Fís, invited artist, NOVAS, Liverpool
2OO8 Fís, invited artist, NOVAS, Liverpool
2OO8 Boyle Arts Festival, Roscommon
2OO7 Boyle Arts Festival, Roscommon
2OO7 Fear Not, Íontas, Sligo Art Gallery, Sligo
2OO7 RHA Annual Exhibition, Dublin
2OO6 Emerging Artists, Eigse, Carlow
2OO3 RHA Annual Exhibition, Dublin
2OO3 Éigse, Carlow
2OO2 Éigse, Carlow
1998 John Moore, Eoin Llewelyn and David Quinn, Cross Gallery, Dublin

Awards and Residencies

2O17 Arts Council Visual Arts Bursary
2O15 Tony O'Malley Studio Residency Award
2O14 DLR Professional Development Grant
2O12 DIT Portland Row
2OO6 Ballinglen Arts Foundation
2OO6 Mountjoy Prison (Artists in Prison Scheme)
2OO5 Roundstone Arts Week

Curatorial Projects

2017 LACUNA [ 04 ], Taylor Galleries, Dublin (co-curatorial project with Sabina Mac Mahon, featuring work by Sharon Etgar, Vincent Hawkins, Eimear Murphy, Pauline O'Connell, Rachel Parry, Eddie Rafferty, Gerda Teljeur, Andrew Ward and Tad Wiley
2015 LACUNA [ 03 ], Taylor Galleries, Dublin (co-curatorial project with Sabina Mac Mahon, featuring work by Mark Cullen, Cliona Harmey, Kyle McDonald, Chloe Nagle, Lesley-Ann O’Connell and Rachel-Rose O’Leary)
2014 LACUNA [ 02 ], Taylor Galleries, Dublin (co-curatorial project with Sabina Mac Mahon, featuring work by Neil Carroll, Sarah Jane Finnegan, Gillian Lawler, Cora Cummins, Shane Murphy and Sonny Ortolano)
2013 LACUNA [ 01 ], Taylor Galleries, Dublin (co-curatorial project with Sabina Mac Mahon, featuring work by Lucy Andrews, Maggie Madden, Seán Molloy, Eveleen Murphy and Gwen Wilkinson)

Selected Bibliography

2O18 Best Shows This Week, Irish Times, 10 Mar, Aidan Dunne
2O18 seamless, Susan Campbell, Irish Arts Review, Spring, pgs. 76 - 77
2O18 émergent magazine
2O18 David Quinn, Wall Street International magazine
2O18 London Art Fair 2O18, Sue Hubbard Has The Last Word
2O17 Small, Wall Street International magazine
2O17 What Lies Beneath, Sunday Independent, November 19, Niall MacMonagle
2O17 The best art shows to see this week, Irish Times, 18 Sep, Aidan Dunne
2O17 The Visual Artists' Newsheet, Nov/Dec Critique, Roisin Russell
2O17 The best art shows to see this week, Irish Times, 1 Sep, Gemma Tipton
2O17 Review of LACUNA [ O4 ], Irish Times, 14 February, Aidan Dunne
2O16 David Quinn, Riann Coulter
2O16 Imago Mundi, An Image of Ireland, Contemporary Artists from Ireland, pgs. 27O-271
2O16 Island, publication with poems to accompany exhibition curated by John Brown, images
2O16 Irish Arts Review, Summer, pgs. 226-229,'Two Birds / One Stone', Carissa Farrell
2O16 Visual Artists' News Sheet - Critique Supplement, May - June, Review of 'blank' by Iain Griffin
2O15 'A Few Thoughts on David Quinn's Work', Patrick Murphy RHA
2O15 Irish Arts Review - News
2O15 What Lies Beneath, Sunday Independent, 15 November,  Niall MacMonagle
2O14 RHA Newsletter, Summer 2O14, pgs. 18-19 & 28
2O13 RHA's 183rd Annual Exhibition Catalogue, image.
2O1O Irish Times, 2nd June, Review, Aidan Dunne
2O1O Éigse, 30 Year Retrospective Catalogue
2OO7 Field Day Review 2OO7, image, pg. 71
2OO7 Fear Not, Íontas Catalogue
2OO1 Sunday Business Post, 29 July, - the Guide a9
2OO1 Hot Press, 2 August, Sharon Connelly, Mighty Quinn, pg.4O
1998 In Dublin, 3-16 December 1998, Artist In Residence, pg. 69


AIB Corporate Banking
Arthur Cox
Atomic Advertising
Ballinglen Arts Foundation
Bank of Ireland
Boyle Civic Collection
Carlow Institute of Technology
Clinch Wealth Management
Dynamo Design
Eaton Corporation
Electric Ireland
Financial Risk Solutions
Hôtel de Crillon
Imago Mundi
Iona Technologies
Irish International
Kilkenny Education Centre
Morrison Hotel
Oakes Fashion House
Office of Public Works
PJ Carroll and Co.
Smurfit Kappa
William Fry Solicitors