Bay exhibit full circle for Quin

ART IN MOTION: Eastern Cape sculptor and artist Maureen Quin and Gutsche Family Investments’ Philipp Gutsche at the opening of Quin’s retrospective exhibition at the GFI Gallery in Park Drive. Picture by: BRIAN WITBOOI
ART IN MOTION: Eastern Cape sculptor and artist Maureen Quin and Gutsche Family Investments’ Philipp Gutsche at the opening of Quin’s retrospective exhibition at the GFI Gallery in Park Drive. Picture by: BRIAN WITBOOI

Artist celebrates 60 years of amazing work

INTERNATIONALLY renowned Eastern Cape sculptor Maureen Quin’s retrospective exhibition has come full circle – by ending its national tour in the province she calls home.

Sixty outstanding sculptures, paintings and drawings form part of a showing at the GFI Gallery in Park Drive, each providing a fascinating glimpse into Quin’s evolution as an artist and sculptor over 60 years.

This important exhibition was opened earlier this month by Gutsche Family Investments’ Philipp Gutsche, a long-time admirer of Quin’s work.

The artist, who has been based in the Eastern Cape town of Alexandria for many years, will be back in the Bay on Saturday to conduct a public walkabout of the exhibition that began its journey at the Oliewenhuis Art Museum in Bloemfontein in March last year, followed by the North-West University Gallery in Potchefstroom, the Sanlam Art Gallery in Bellville and the Ann Bryant Gallery in East London.

It will be a busy weekend for Quin as she is also celebrating her 81st birthday on Sunday.

“I’ll be with my Port Elizabeth daughter, Lucy du Plessis, on my birthday,” Quin said this week. Her other daughter, Dorothy Quin, lives in Alexandria where Quin has a studio and much-visited sculpture garden.

The retrospective, on at the GFI until April 10, commemorates an impressive and inspiring career that has included more than 40 commissions, among the more recent a largerthan-life bust of the late Nelson Mandela for a garden of 20th century peace icons at Australia’s New South Wales University.

Quin has done several notable Mandela works over the years, including a statuette which the Raymond Mhlaba Trust, thanks to Gutsche’s initiative, auctioned in limited edition numbers in the mid-2000s to raise funds for the education of Eastern Cape children.

Each bore Madiba’s signature and attracted buyers from around the world; one even found a permanent home at the GFI gallery, where it is a muchadmired piece.

Besides the travelling exhibition, Quin’s retrospective year was marked with the release of a beautiful coffee table book, Maureen Quin: Sixty Years of Excellence.

It was co-authored by Virginia (“Ginny”) Reed, former head of the Johan Carinus Arts Centre in Grahamstown. Reed also curated the retrospective based on many of Quin’s most defining works.

Among these is the critically acclaimed Hunt Series from the ’90s, where “organic, visceral and primordial synthesise in superb cohesion”, according to Reed.

During this significant period Quin also created Xhosa Woman, Anxiety and Angst, a trio depicting the same woman but with progressively more distorted, abstracted features capturing profound personal and social pain, fear and culminating in a Edvard Munch-like cry in the final piece.

Quin remains a prolific and passionate artist whose works continue to depict powerful and at times disconcerting universal themes, making this an exhibition absolutely not to be missed.

The GFI gallery is at 30 Park Drive. Saturday’s walkabout is from 10.30am to 1pm. Copies of Quin’s book are available at Fogarty’s in Walmer Park, or directly from the artist on (046) 653-0121.

-Louise Liebenberg

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