Ged Quinn's 'The Happy Garden' at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens puts the controversial into the classic

Currently on display as part of Sunderland Museum's contemporary art exhibits 'The Happy Garden' is a wonderful example of Ged Quinn's method of combining modern and perhaps controversial references onto the classic and idyllic.

Ged Quinn has produced many works that, at face value, are reminiscent of more classical paintings but contain within the detail, references to the modern or the disturbing or both. For example his painting 'No One Here Has Heard of You' appears to be a painting by a Dutch Master of a vase full of flowers sitting on a table by a window. On closer inspection we see within the detail that the flowers in the centre are formed into a deaths head while a scene from the Exorcist is played out in the glaze of the vase; also if we look out of the window we see what appears to be the Tower of Babel under construction.

Ged Quinn's landscape paintings have often been compared to the 17th century French painter Claude Lorrain. However the painting on display and part of Sunderland Museum's collection of art 'The Happy Garden' is more reminiscent of the 17th Century landscape painting 'View of a House and its Estate in Belsize, Middlesex' by Jan Siberechts. In both paintings all looks happy, content, well ordered, traditional, all is just as it should be. On closer inspection however we notice that in 'The Happy Garden' the well-ordered gardens are laid out in the shape of the structure of viruses such as HIV and herpes while the flora in the foreground spells out an ominous 'welcome'. The result is an unsettling beauty.

'The Happy Garden' is a wonderful example of Ged Quinn's skill of imposing modern day references onto more traditional styles of art and is a fine example of Sunderland Museums expansive collection of contemporary art.

Ged Quinn was born in 1963. He studied at Ruskin College, Oxford, The Slade, London, the Kunstakademie, Dusseldorf and Rijksakademie, Amsterdam.

Find out more about Ged Quinn.

Find out more about Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens.

Share this

Did you know?

Sunderland's Friendship Agreement with Washington DC makes us the only city in Europe to enjoy such a relationship with the world's most powerful city. Washington Old Hall is home to the direct ancestors of the first president of the United States of America.

Twitter

Registrations for Penshaw Bowl are now open! It’s a free event, taking place on Good Friday, 30 March at Herrington… https://t.co/wTgRQgvYiP 2 days 11 hours ago
RT : The Nose That Nobody Picked is a rip-snorting family musical adapted for the stage from the award-winning book by D… https://t.co/MVvffyqmk2 4 days 3 hours ago
RT : Watch at 8pm tomorrow, (Thursday, February 15) to see the Red Arrows feature in the latest episode of Sea C… https://t.co/cq5cv6CZug 4 days 3 hours ago
Fantastic news today, can’t wait to see Elmer and his pals trumpeting around the North East https://t.co/9WZI68ffOW 4 days 12 hours ago
Ooh this looks like another tasty Restaurant Week! https://t.co/J5stOcOkmV 5 days 2 hours ago
RT : Don't miss the amazing hour long on BBC 2 at 8pm this Thursday. https://t.co/x6e5ZggJo5 5 days 2 hours ago
RT : A trip to Roker Pier & Lighthouse is a brilliant day out for all the family this half-term. Nothing will beat Downe… https://t.co/WNB2KDQZDX 6 days 13 hours ago
RT : Come and join us for some fun and make a pirate portrait! 🏴‍☠️We're in the pottery gallery all day, the a… https://t.co/Nps5OXVvlD 6 days 13 hours ago
RT : The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will visit Sunderland on Wednesday 21st February, where they will officially open… https://t.co/P6LPbQ7Bn6 1 week 1 day ago
Amazing opportunities to dine and sail on the spectacular Tall Ships this summer https://t.co/G3HBQobfrc 1 week 3 days ago
Making plans for half-term? We’ve got some great suggestions! https://t.co/S9UO9E6UYx https://t.co/tpMJ277OAk 1 week 3 days ago
RT : Come along to Bright Sparks family fun event this Saturday from 10am for a day of activities and cha… https://t.co/mYTGg5WUP7 1 week 4 days ago
RT : The is almost upon us! Come and join in the celebrations for on Sat 17 Feb, 11am to 3… https://t.co/idnXWMZ4lA 1 week 4 days ago
Exciting news! is one of the venues to host this amazing exhibition, in February 2019. https://t.co/LItr4PiWHC 1 week 4 days ago
RT : Looking for ideas for fun to keep the kids entertained? 🤔 Why not get them on our🇨🇳 Chinese Zodiac Animal… https://t.co/XW7it4SFEx 1 week 6 days ago

Facebook

Download the See it Do it app

Sign up to our newsletter