Maurice Quillinan studied at Limerick School of Art and Design; Royal College of Art, London; École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris; and University of Limerick. Central to his work is a strong set of spiritual values which underlie his exploration of existence, using the landscape and the ?gure as metaphors for the metaphysical challenges we encounter. This internal dialogue manifests as layered and blurred works which suggest that there are many meanings and expla-nations for the spiritual, psychological and physiological conundrums we experience: there are no answers, only traces of us having passed by. He has exhibited widely and his work is represented in the public and private collections of thirty-four countries.
And Yesterday or Centuries Before
Conté on Fabriano paper
76.2 x 101.6 cm
My mother died nearly three years ago and I spent the past year clearing out her house. As anyone who has done this will know, memories like IEDs stalk every room, cupboard and drawer. Horses seem to be the constant anchor and touchstone for all my memories: they were such a part of our lives. I have chosen a piece attributed to Da Vinci, Rearing Horse (MG 037), a stunning evocation of beauty and brutality. The artist endeavours to explain what a horse actually is, crafting the animal with the respect normally reserved for the human ?gure: a repository of endless drama and physical possibilities. The chased bronze sculpture was originally thought to be of ancient Greek origin and is remarkably similar to marbles of horses in battle by Phidias from the Parthenon, Athens. It is analogous to a silverpoint drawing by Da Vinci in the Royal Library, Windsor Castle, robustly bringing to life writhing stallions in The Battle of Anghiari, his long-destroyed mural commissioned in 1503. This war horse squats low on his haunches, in a wide stance with front legs raised, as frightening as his modern equivalent, the M1 Abrams battle tank. For all its strength, in the words of Psalm 33:17, ‘A vain hope for safety is the horse; despite its power it cannot save’.
The Sea’s Furthest End
Conté on Fabriano paper
101.1 x 101.6 cm
My earliest memory of art is of a reproduction of a Rubens given to me by my aunt who lived in New York. Like Da Vinci’s Horse, Rubens has treated his horses with the respect such a powerful animal deserves, morphing four ?gures with two horses to the extent that none could exist without the other, in a perfect composition. I love Limerick Museum’s postcards, a series of prints based on Lawrence photographs, ‘The Limerick Album’, 1903-1910 (LM 1986.0155). Horses are everywhere, as numerous as the car in city images today. Even though I live in the city, if I look out my back window I see a group of horses quietly grazing.