Curator's Choice: Curator of Art for Sunderland Shauna Gregg chooses The Happy Garden

By Ben Miller | 02 February 2012
A photo of a woman looking at a large painting of a walled garden inside a gallery
Curator's Choice: Shauna Gregg, Curator of Art for Sunderland and Keeper of Art at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens, chooses The Happy Garden, an imaginary scene by Ged Quinn which is currently part of the Art for Sunderland show...
"This work came into the collection in 2005. Juliet Horsley, our former Principal Keeper of Art, and I saw it in the 'ShowCASe' exhibition in Edinburgh.

"The exhibition featured more than 150 contemporary fine art and craft works acquired by the Contemporary Art Society.

An image of an oil painting of an elaborate walled garden on flat green country land
Ged Quinn, The Happy Garden (2004). Oil on linen© Ged Quinn, Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens
“As the Museum is a member of their collecting scheme, we were able to put a case together to acquire The Happy Garden.
“The painting shows an imaginary scene. The artist, Ged Quinn, has painted the picture in the style of a 17th century country house view.

He was born in Liverpool in 1963. He studied at the Ruskin, Oxford, the Slade, London, the Kunstakademie, Düsseldorf, and the Rijksakademie, Amsterdam.

“In the eighties he played keyboards and was a member of the The Wild Swans and The Lotus Eaters.

“Quinn has used various versions of historical styles in his work to reflect on events and threats on modern life.

“Even though he tends to paint on a large scale, he usually spends around a month working on his paintings.

“Here he shows us a traditional, ordered kind of beauty, but the perfection of the garden is undermined from within.

“He often superimposes modern day references onto his canvases. In this case, the patterns of the planting imitate the structures of viruses such as HIV.”

  • Art for Sunderland is at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens until June 6 2012.
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