Sandra Quinn, Safe Passage, encaustic and mixed media, 16 x 18 inches
“What is art in the final analysis?
Art is the shining forth of one’s interiority.”
~ Mu Xin
“I found I could say things with color and
shapes that I couldn’t say any other way
things I had no words for.”
Greenhut’s October show will be an exhibition of Sandra Quinn’s contemplative, graceful, and quietly evocative encaustic paintings, aptly entitled Inside Out, with an Opening reception Thursday, October 4 from 5-7 pm. Sandra is a gifted abstract painter who has, in Portland Press Herald art critic, Dan Kany’s words, “really mastered encaustic as a medium to the point where she can think fluently in the medium instead of being limited by it.” This fluency is apparent in the finished work, and crucial to the success of the artist’s introspective, deeply meditative process, through which she channels richly personal interior spaces to the outside world using her own unique, energetic, and continually evolving nonverbal language – a language coursing with immediacy and a certain joy in its own being. The work is atmospheric, lyrical, and exudes the quiet confidence of an artist in full control of/complicity with her medium. This complicity not only opens the door to spontaneity, it invites it in. The show runs through October 27.
Like music, Quinn’s art is abstract in the purest sense. It adheres to no object, and refers to no subject. Quinn succeeds in expressing her sui generis emotional being and specific sites of recalled sensation and memory through color, texture, gesture, and symbol (musical notations and glyph-like calligraphy applied to the encaustic surface with graphite or paint sticks).
Central to her style is a fascination for, and an ability to visually depict, space itself, which is often represented in large, irregular, neutral-colored formations at the center of her canvas. She manipulates these spaces in a variety of ways; they might evoke a sweet summer breeze in one painting, and in the next, an invisible force field, driving the colors and other marks to the edge of the canvas. In a sense, the true subject of all of Quinn’s paintings is a transcendent locus of experience and emotion that lies beyond language and falls between the cracks of literal meaning.
Quinn exercises a type of mindfulness, creating a space to convene with her Self – a quiet space for authentic being and emotion to emerge: “My goal is to make work that expresses the feeling of being fully present and focused. I want to explore and experiment, responding to each mark or brushstroke that I put down. There needs to be clarity and balance, bathed in the subtle nuances of space and means to quietly look inside – to see what memories or experiences might bubble to the surface, to be alert and listen. This journey grounds me in the present and guides me to the future.”
There is an intrepid and non-self-critical openness to Quinn’s approach – a non-teleological joy in the process for the process, and a willingness to engage with whatever truths might emerge from the realm of the unconscious. This mind space is accessible only to those who have truly mastered their medium, who trust in their gift, and who have the courage to follow wherever the dialogue between artist and his of her emerging object may lead. Painter’s block is never an issue: “When looking at the blank white surface, I see an invitation, a reminder that anything is possible.”
Sandra Quinn earned a BFA in Painting (with Honors) from Portland School of Art (presently Maine College of Art), and a BA in Painting from San Diego State University. She is a member of the Peregrine Press, and her work has been included in a number of juried exhibitions, including five showings at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art. Her work is included in the permanent collections of the University of New England as well as in numerous corporate and private collections.
Glenn Renell, “Valley Grass”
In the side gallery this month we have new oil paintings by another long-time Greenhut artist, Glenn Renell. An accomplished landscape painter, Glenn has cultivated a profound understanding of the relationship between a painter, a place, and a viewer. His perceptive observation of the subtleties of light and the relationships of sky, land, and horizon are beautifully rendered in his paintings.
“There is a place in landscape painting where the spirit of place meets the soul of the painter, and when the viewer sees and shares that place in a painting, that’s where art begins.”
Born in Portland, Maine  and raised in New York, Glenn attended Rhode Island School of Design, spent four years in the Navy, and graduated from Fort Wright College with a BFA in painting in 1975. He went on to receive an MFA in painting from the University of Massachusetts in 1978 and taught design, drawing and painting at Maine College of Art from 1980 through 2001. Glenn left teaching to paint full-time and now resides in southeast Arizona between the Dragoon and Chiricahua mountains. Renell’s works have been included in numerous museum shows, and are included in public and private collections throughout the world.