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Cain Schulte Contemporary Art Presents a Two-Person Exhibition of Justin Quinn and Mark Fox
Justin Quinn, Tattoo or Chop Block, 2004. Collage, 6 x 7/8". Photo: Courtesy Cain Schulte Contemporary Art.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- Cain Schulte Contemporary Art presents The Ghost and the Whale, a two-person exhibition featuring the work on paper of Justin Quinn and Mark Fox. The exhibition is on view from May 20 to July 2, 2011. The Ghost and the Whale is an art show by two artists whose practice is centered on manipulation, transcriptions of texts, and the close examination of these texts’ meaning and implications. Fox and Quinn’s investigations share a very close affinity in their concerns with language and the transferal of information, as well as the compulsion of visualizing the ephemeral and the liminal, in mementos to loss and concrete absence. Is something not present still real? Do intangible things still exist?

For his first exhibition at the gallery, Mark Fox presents an installation of two- and three-dimensional works that incorporate the artist's personal vocabulary of images and text in an inquiry on the material quality of absence, and on the paradox of religious dogmas. Fox’s preoccupation with material belongings is evident in works like “Sorry”, an arch-shaped visual compilation of small, brightly colored, cut-paper objects and words, and in “Specter”, a large-format cut-paper piece, which speak of the ephemera of one’s life. The underlying ontology in Fox’s work also is apparent in his text-based pieces, which question the validity of religious dogmas. In these works, quotes from religious texts, transcribed by Fox’s in his own handwriting, are cut from paper and assembled in an attempt to personally re-interpret them and turn their abstract tenets into more real propositions.

Alongside Fox, Justin Quinn, for his fifth show with the gallery, presents a new selection of his distinctive transcription of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick into the letter E. Analogous to Fox’s personal investigation of religious texts, Quinn transforms Melville’s writings into labyrinthine and spiraling compositions that call to mind Captain Ahab’s monomaniacal quest for the mythical, inapprehensible White Whale. Using specific chapters as sources, Quinn produces exquisite graphite and silver point drawings, akin to phantasmagoric maps, that provide a visual reckoning into his creative pursuit. By methodically re-writing Moby Dick, a story rich in theology, philosophy, and psychosis, Quinn construes a structural map for his textual work, and parallels the allegorical search to a symbol for those elements of life that are ineffable.

Combined, the works of these two artists seek to explore the possibility of conjuring reality out of their pencil marks, and to extract palpable meaning from conceived truths.

Justin Quinn was born in Duluth, Minnesota. He studied Print Making and Art History at the University of Iowa, and Fine Arts at the University of Wisconsin. Since 1999, Quinn's works on paper have been included in over eighty exhibitions, both national and international. His teaching, his exhibitions, and his role as a moderator and panelist at national conferences currently make Quinn one of the most brilliant figures in printmaking.

Mark Fox was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. He studied at Stanford University, California. Since his first solo show in 1991, Fox’s body of work has included paintings, drawings, large scale installations, performance pieces, and videos. His work is found in the collection of the museum of Modern Art, New York, The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania, and the Cincinnati Art Museum, Ohio, among others. Fox currently lives and works in New York.

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