Quint Gallery: 40 years of contemporary art

With its beautiful coast and active artlife, La Jolla deserves well its name. Quint Gallery, which celebrates its 40th anniversary, is one of the leading contemporary art gallery of the area.

We’ve had the chance to meet with Ingrid Westlake, Visual Curator and Director of ONE, a Quint Gallery satellite space. She shared about southern California artlife, Quint Gallery and the current exhibition with French artist Adrien Couvrat.

Hello Ingrid Westlake, La Jolla is home to many art galleries. How would you describe the art scene in southern California? 

There is a very diverse offer when it comes to art galleries in Southern California:  La Jolla is home of around 15 art galleries, and perhaps the same in various parts of San Diego. La Jolla is where the prestigious Museum of Contemporary Art (MCASD) is located so a variety of art galleries have established themselves to serve local collectors as well as visitors to the Gem of San Diego (that’s what La Jolla means).

While Los Angeles has obviously a lot to offer with numerous world-renowned museums such as The Getty, LACMA and the Broad, I like to think that San Diego, and Quint Gallery in particular, has put forward a very distinctive visual offering which has contributed to the longevity of the gallery. Think of Quint Gallery as a gem inside a gem of a region and city, art lovers out there will forgive me for going all meta on them. 🙂 

Ingrid Westlake in front of works by Adrien Couvrat – Courtesy of Quint Gallery

Can you share about your path that led you to be a Director at Quint Gallery?

I first got acquainted with Quint Gallery as an art collector when I moved to San Diego almost 10 years ago. Discovering the incredibly clever works of Kelsey Brookes and Adam Belt was a revelation. Further conversations and my writings about some Quint artists led Mark Quint and his team to approach me with the offer to curate exhibitions for Further, a satellite space they were starting in January 2020.

Further was a collaboration project with SixteenFifty, a Creative Intelligence agency here in La Jolla. With Covid-19, it quickly proved impossible to bring visitors to a working space so my 20/20 Vision: See Further exhibition was short-lived.

Mark Quint always dreamed of a slow art concept space which would show only ONE artwork at a time. This proved the perfect timing and we opened ONE in July 2020.

Can you share about the story of the Gallery and its program?

When Mark Quint established his gallery 40 years ago, he chose to champion artists of the Light and Space movement (Robert Irwin, Peter Alexander, Mary Corse, Larry Bell…), a movement now recognized as Quint-essential (pun intended) California Art. These iconic artists and painters with a Minimalist or Conceptual sensitivity showed early on at Quint Gallery, all turning the unique quality of the California light into an endless source of inspiration.

While Quint continues to exhibit works by these seminal Light and Space artists, careful attention should be paid to Adam Belt and Mara de Luca, the younger generation of Light and Space artists. 

Another very distinctive trait of most Quint artists is how they embrace color in all its variations. A great example is the works of Manny Farber.

In a more abstract style, our artists Kim MacConnel and Kelsey Brookes are both graceful and clever: MacConnel choosing to rewrite art history by focusing on Pattern & Decoration while Kelsey Brookes’ art is rooted in molecular science and brain perception.

I’d also like to point out the geopolitical aspect and San Diego’s cross border culture. It is an important visual marker influencing many artists on both sides of the border. Quint Gallery chose to open a brand new large scale Gallery space last March by showing an important and significant installation by Chilean artist Alfredo Jaar in which a series of light boxes and mirrors immerse viewers into the journey of an asylum seeker crossing the Rio Grande from Mexico into the US.

Most artists are American and relatively local yet my European background has already led to showing some European artists I believe American collectors will be grateful to welcome into their collections.

Artworks by Kelsey Brookes, Adrien Couvrat, Manny Farber, Gary Lang, Ryan McGinness- Courtesy of Quint Gallery

How did the gallery adapt to the current situation? Any silver linings?

I actually think after the initial shock, Quint Gallery was incredibly quick to seize the opportunity of a “by appointment only” model. Our personalized approach made for the best interactions with our clients and collectors who rallied in strong support of the gallery since we never stopped bringing top quality art exhibitions when all museums were closed.

Our slow art concept at ONE provided an art moment and so many people expressed how grateful they felt for this much needed mindful reset. With so much time spent at home, many people chose to invest in artworks. So yes, there were definitely many silver linings as we seized the opportunity to open a second exhibition space in March 2021 to celebrate Quint Gallery’s 40th anniversary.

What are the current and upcoming exhibitions?

We are currently showing French artist Adrien Couvrat at ONE (until May 15) with a monumental installation of his ravishing optical paintings which change color as the viewer moves in front of them. Pure optical magic and Light and Space with a French touch.

Alfredo Jaar’s Walking on Water will remain on view at the Gallery since this almost 30-year old installation about immigration is once more only too relevant given current events and under-age children being sent to cross the border on their own. 

Mid-May, the Gallery will have a mid-career survey for our artist Kelsey Brookes.

Walking on Water by Alfredo Jaar – Photo : Quint Gallery

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