Showcase: Michael JQuill

Erin Irwin takes a closer look at these outstanding works.

The work: Michael JQuill, Cornered In His Thoughts, 2021. Acrylic on canvas, framed, 113 x 91cm. Courtesy: the artist.

Self-taught painter Michael JQuill does not shy away from amalgamating various art styles and movements in his work, using bright colours and striking forms to allow us to take a peek into his mind. In Cornered In His Thoughts, classical sculpture sits with the work of Francis Bacon and Henri Matisse to create a surrealist portrait, capturing the contemporary desire to look to both the past and the future. Set against a backdrop of abstract lines, JQuill’s figure seems to be both turned toward and away from us, its closed body language carved out of a handful of curled forms.

Perched on top, a weighty visage whose empty eyes immediately recall images of Greek gods and heroes stares out, improbably balanced but precisely placed on the paper-thin silhouette below. Despite seemingly crouched in a corner, the figure’s face stares out unflinchingly at us, investing it with a sense of steadfast determination. Just as the work utilises a variety of seminal art styles, it exposes the multiplicity of the figure, who is both cowering and courageous, anxious but unafraid. We are given entry to the thoughts of the artist, and find there a very human mix of emotions.

Artworks for sale by Michael JQuill

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