The 13th exhibition in the Institute of Contemporary Art
's Momentum series features Boston-born artist Eileen Quinlan in her first solo museum presentation. Momentum examines new developments in contemporary art, inviting emerging artists from the U.S. and around the world to show their work at the ICA. Quinlan's captivating images highlight photography's paradoxical ability both to record fact and create illusion. Based entirely in the studio, Quinlan's work uses pre-digital photography techniquessuch as gels, strobes, smoke and mirrorsto create mesmerizing abstract compositions of light, color, and texture. On view from March 18 to July 12, 2009, Momentum 13: Eileen Quinlan features over twenty prints from six bodies of work, including a new series never before on view.
"We are delighted to present the first solo museum exhibition of Boston native Eileen Quinlan," says Jill Medvedow, Director of the ICA/Boston. "Quinlan's abstract work explores the boundaries of the photographic medium."
"Quinlan's beguiling images invite us to appreciate the mechanics and psychology inherent in the construction of pictures," says Jen Mergel, Associate Curator at the ICA/Boston. "Her works recall the pure abstraction of Modernist painting, but are actually direct representations of the items used to create backdrops in commercial photography. Evoking the sleek environment of an ad campaign, her imagery is seductive yet product-free, prompting imaginative projections instead of quick recognition. The sheer beauty of Quinlan's work encourages us to reconsider assumed limits and potential for the photographic image."
For her ICA exhibition, titled My eyes can only look at you, Quinlan has created Fracas (2009), a new series featuring the ubiquitous fixture of retail display: slat board, the anonymous grooved panel from which merchandise is hung. Juxtaposed with new prints from her prismatic series Night Flight (2008) and the undulating surfaces in the paired series Backdrop and Bandit (2006-2008), these latest works extend her exploration of photography's capacity to "make strange" and seductive even the most ordinary furnishings meant to fade into the background.
Born in Boston and a graduate of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts/Tufts University and Columbia University, Eileen Quinlan has recently had solo exhibitions at Miguel Abreu Gallery, New York; Sutton Lane, Paris; and Galerie Daniel Buchholz, Cologne. Quinlan's first solo museum exhibition, Momentum 13: Eileen Quinlan at the ICA/Boston, features selections of past and new projects to trace the development of her practice to date.