Michael Quanne`s paintings are about certain experiences, (street experiences)which have not entered painting before. And for this reason I`m tempted to compare his work with that of the great Mexican painter, Freda Kahlo. Both artists may, at first glance, be mistaken for primitive painters (because they want to show everything and hide the minimum) and both paint visions that could only come to outsiders. Kahlo the visions of a wounded woman among Mexican Indian: Quanne those of an East-End kid in a milieu of delinquents and Dickensian state institutions. In the works of both of them there is a lot of pain, but also an overwhelming desire to offer, to take by the hand and show.
Quanne`s paintings present a surreal view of London`s landmarks – usually his native East End – populated by curiously isolated figures. They are figures who manage to convey a sense of isolation even when presented in groups. Often these figures will be hooded; emphasising the recurrent theme of isolation still further.
There in an underlying sense of menace in the works; disturbing events are either happening or are about to happen. Yet the sheer visual appeal here enables a transcendence of these negative qualities; while some of the imagery is unsettling you cannot help but be impressed; the composition is exact, the perspectives rigidly accurate (yet subtly distorted so as to preserve the overall surreal quality within the works).