MAUREEN QUIN - SCULPTRESS
Maureen Quin celebrates 60 years of sculptural excellence in 2014. Primarily a sculptor of the human figure, she dwells on the connection between the human and the primordial and on man’s desecration of his own morality, specifically with regard to animals and to his fellow man. With well over 400 works, 40 commissions, 52 solo exhibitions, 26 group exhibitions and national awards to her name, Quin is to be ranked in the top echelons of South African sculptors. She is a strong proponent of proportional, physical and skeletal accuracy, most particularly in imbuing her subject matter with soul. Quin is not one to pander to popular art trends, neither is she an artist who has sought the limelight by producing the avant garde. She qualified cum laude at Durban’s Technikon, followed by study at Goldsmith College in London, 1957, where she also attained distinction. To celebrate sixty years of artistic excellence and success is achievement of rare order. Inspiration
Sculpture is my passion. It’s an extension of myself, reflecting my thoughts, my loves, hates joys and fears. Whether I’m involved in representational wildlife studies, realistic figure studies or abstractions, I put my heart and soul into it.
Each sculpture is an exciting journey. Starting with a vague concept, sketching it to achieve a visual form, building the armature, fleshing it out and having it cast in bronze are the elements which ultimately are to me the most rewarding and satisfying. In the process I use my talents, experience and my gut feelings to guide me until I’m satisfied within myself that the sculptural form I’ve created, moves in space and is in harmony with my vision.
In my career as a sculptor I’ve used the human figure extensively. In many studies I endeavor to capture the rapport between humans and the animal kingdom by combining the two to create sculptures that are uniquely my own abstract expressive approach. Creating and searching for the ultimate realization of my vision is the fulfillment of my life.
Maureen Quin is a deeply passionate and emotionally engaged artist. South African Art and the South African viewing public are the richer for the insightful and thematically relevant quality of her works. Her sculptures transcend and penetrate the surface of social reality; they explore and celebrate the ‘irreducible particularity of all existence, both animate and inanimate’ (Professor Bert Olivier, 1995). Her art is deeply explored and deeply intelligent; it dislocates our preconceived beliefs and at times jars us from our comfortable concepts of societal norm. Quin’s works at various instances delight and warn; they make the familiar questioned and at times leave one with sorrow or discomfit. They are alive with volumes and eloquent voids; they are visually challenging and harmonious – they beg pondering, which is precisely what she wishes the public to do. I realised early on, she has said, that if you want to make your mark in art, which I wanted to, you have to be consistent, expose your work to the public and show passion for what you do. Quin has through her works consistently been a teacher to the uninitiated; she has given numerous lectures, demonstrations and informal talks to the widest spectrum of people, one of the latest being a lecture to the University of the New Age in Plettenberg Bay and another to tertiary students at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. Sir Herbert Read was not wrong when he said of master sculptors that they must possess strength, patience, manual dexterity and creative talent – Maureen Quin has all of these. Her legacy encompasses this wide spectrum, and it proves her immense worth to the sculptural history of South Africa.