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The Source Arts Centre, Thurles, Co.Tipperary.

Dharma Above Ground, 100 x 120cm, Ink on

Dharma Above Ground,

100 x 120cm, ink on canvas


Hypercarbon, installation view,

polished bog wood, ink, wax, quartz


Hyperscape V,

50 x 60cm, ink on canvas

Hyperscape VI, 50 x 60cm,  Ink on Canvas

Hyperscape VI

50 x 60cm, ink on canvas, 2020

Hyperscape I, 50 x 60cm,  Ink on Canvas.

Hyperscape I,

50 x 60, ink on canvas, 2020


Hypercarbon, Installation View

Blood Atlas III, 40 x 50cm, Ink and acry
Blood Atlas VI, 40 x 50cm, Ink and acryl

Blood Atlas, III & VI,

40 x 50 cm, ink on canvas, 2020


In Hypercarbon, Austin McQuinn uses a range of carbon-based materials including Bog wood, Quartz, Bees Wax, Chinese Ink, and Canvas to make new work for his first solo exhibition in Tipperary. The energy in the work expresses a hypersensitivity to these materials, forging connections between the molecular and the cosmological. In the paintings, an accumulation of lines follows the logic of a doodle, finding their spidery paths across the plain of the primed surface. The emerging images draw from the intense processes of outsider art, as well as the devotional concentration involved in the making of religious icons.

Writing about these new paintings, McQuinn says : “As well as acknowledging the serious work created by outsider artists, chimpanzees,14th century icon painters and Vermeer, I draw on my own interest in devotional and discarded objects, and mutating objects such as glaciers, mountains, molecules, cosmological events and all mutating life, including ongoing bacterial lives active inside our own bodies. All matter is in a constant state of flux, while always being utterly itself. These meta-drawings or hyper-doodles have roots in previous phases of my practice where I have often taken just one element and pushed it to its nth degree. I have worked with oil paint, plaster, fur, Aran sweaters, dancing medals, thrift store figurines, waste, and opera. Now it’s the turn of Ink.”

The sculptures are made in collaboration with the artist’s father, Terence McQuinn (b.1936), where together they identified the pieces of Kerry bog wood they would work on and then they each brought different techniques to the process. After a long period of preparation in Terence’s workshop in Co. Kerry, the sanding, ink staining and wax polishing was completed in Austin’s studio on Slievenamon, in South Tipperary, where he lives.  The resulting sculptures, completed under duress of distance imposed by the pandemic, are presented as collaborative art works, made especially for this exhibition. Though thousands of years old,  the energy of the life-force in these sculptures echoes the movement of carbon bodies - natural, human, animal - bursting into the gallery. The materiality of the bogs surrounding the three sites of origin - Kerry, Slievenamon and Thurles – becomes hypercarbonised in the sculptures and in our experience of their presence.


This is Austin’s first solo exhibition in Tipperary and was specially commissioned by The Source, Thurles.



All Hypercarbon Photography by Helena Tobin. .

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