Artistic License: Ann Quinn

ANN QUINN’s new exhibition at the TAYLOR GALLERIES looks at landscapes and HOW HUMANS IMPACT THEM, Penny McCormick speaks to her ahead of the exhibition opening next week …


Atmospheric and deeply personal, Donegal-based artist Ann Quinn has used her new exhibition, “The Human Presence”, which opens at The Taylor Galleries on August 31, to feature landscapes she knows intimately.

Your new exhibition is inspired by three locations. Can you tell us about each of these?

The works in this exhibition are inspired by three different places; my parents’ farm where I grew up in East Donegal until I was 19; Dublin City where I lived for 20 years – I went to the NCAD as an art student and stayed; and a wild prairie near the Ragdale Foundation in Illinois, where I completed an artist residency in the autumn of 2016.

What is the underlying theme of the exhibition – The Human Presence?

Most of my new paintings contain a human being in the middle of the space. These figures are the focal point of the composition, while my previous work was more about the actual landscape. The people who feature in the paintings are human beings whom I met and photographed. These acquaintances range from brief coincidental sightings and meetings to more close and meaningful relations like my parents. The human presence impacts on the atmosphere of the paintings by the emotions they project, consciously or unconsciously.

Where and how do you work?

I made these paintings for the exhibition “The Human Presence” in my new studio in Donegal after living in Dublin and working in studios there for 20 years. I work mainly in my studio but I also spend a lot of time outdoors simply being in a place and revisiting it. I work from the impressions of certain places I have spent time in. I document these places by taking photographs.

Have you had any formative creative influences or mentors for your work?

The only mentor I’ve had for my work has been nature itself, and I gather influences from books and films in terms of atmospheres. Certain places have an impact on me, I try to bring the atmosphere of that place into a painting.

As a child on my parent’s farm in East Donegal, I sometimes used to take out the huge family bible from underneath their bed and make drawings from the paintings by Rembrandt, Bosch, Carravagio, Delacroix, and other painters. This was my only exposure to art and it made a lasting impression on me.

Need to Know: “The Human Presence” opens at the Taylor Galleries, 16 Kildare Street, Dublin 2 on August 31 and runs until September 22; For further information about Ann Quinn visit

Penny McCormick

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