Lauren Quin: Clutches
July 3 - Sept 4, 2020
1819 3rd Ave
Late June. All we seem to know is before and after, fixated on the instant that something became something else. Pre-quar, pre-Fairfax protest, pre-November 2016. We don’t really know what day it was, but we know if it happened before or after.
For years, my richest uncle has talked about wanting to freeze himself. Every year for Christmas, he gets the women in my family anti-aging cosmetics so advanced that they don’t yet come in nice, pleasing packaging, but rather in a generic scientific box with big words impossible to pronounce and graphics of humans evolving. He’s rich from computers. He has no wife or children. He has a small house where he lives alone with a backyard full of rotting weeds. Freezing himself would presumably eliminate having to deal with the change that happens between before and after. If all goes according to plan, after would be the same as before.
I saw Lauren Quin’s paintings before. Right before, when I had to cancel my birthday party and my reservation at Musso and Frank’s. Then the world changed—actually, the world broke open. I saw the paintings again after, thinking mostly about the recurring image that is printed on the back of many of Quin’s canvases: hands holding two eggs or hands holding a bat, an image she pushes to abstraction with paint. They are images of precarity just about to break open. Eggs are just as close to life as they are to death, cracking and splat. Each painting identifies something that’s hardly there, just about to slip through your fingers, but, “clutch.”