Toin Adams

The fantastic five

The Quinta Art Collective Project brings together five women with a passion for artistic creation to promote art and create a mutual-aid community for mixed media

Andrea M. Bird, a mixed-media artist who combines lights and shadows in works made with tiles, glass and resin, saw in the pandemic an opportunity to team up with four other friends, also local artists, to promote their projects.

Originally from the United Kingdom and living in Loulé for about five years, Andrea has shown her work not only in Portugal and in her homeland but even in China. She felt the need to create an art collective that allowed the group to work together whenever they wanted or “alone when necessary whilst, simultaneously, gathering and promoting all the projects”, as she explains.

With very different types of works, the collective has projects ranging from fine art and paintings to portraits, fibre works and sculptures. Although all five artists have a different style, they share a common passion, approach and attitude: “We are five very different women in terms of personality and artistry but with a very strong sense of solidarity and support. This is very important since the art world can sometimes be very lonely. So, when we have friends with common interests, it’s important that we work together to make our pieces known to the public. Because they’re so different from each other, I think we can reach various segments,” says Andrea.

As for the inspiration for her own pieces, which stand out for their distinctive glows, the artist gives credit to a bird, namely “the magpie, which is common in the UK, known for collecting small shiny bits and taking them to its nest”.

A London native, painter Jessica Dunn finds the ideas for her paintings in the region she chose as her home over 30 years ago; “in the landscapes, in the colours of the sea, in the sunsets and in spring. The Algarve is a magical place”, says the artist who favours acrylics and oil in abstract landscapes. In fact, her passion for art, which has been her life’s work, began with her father who was also a painter and actually built a gallery in Boliqueime, today the Dunn Studio, where Jessica brings her imagination to life with works that have already spread around Europe.

With a father from Viana do Castelo, Jane Rodenburg always had roots in Portugal, but it was in the Algarve that she felt at home. “Everything is wonderful, the people, the weather, the beach, the gastronomy and the sense of security. I’ve travelled a lot and lived in the Caribbean, in Australia, but in Europe I feel there’s a connection to something greater,” she says. After working several years as a teacher, it was a boat trip across the Atlantic Ocean that set the tone for Jane’s work. “Something awakened in me when I was on the boat, watching the wind hit the sails. I like the feeling of being totally immersed in the moment and feeling something inside that is then transferred to the outside. I am always very fascinated by the horizon, the feeling of being calmly here, in the present, and there is simply something about the sea that connects with me.” Hence her focus on blue tones and the abstract through natural fibres, mainly wool, silk, and some recycled materials. From a distance and at first glance, Jane’s pieces may look like watercolour paintings thanks to the precision with which she combines the materials.

For Tracy Carson, a Scottish portrait and jewellery specialist, Quinta Art Collective can be a source of inspiration. “It encourages us to reach the best version of ourselves, especially on an artistic level. When we come together, it’s lovely. We are a nice mix that complements each other,” she describes. Living in the region for 15 years, Tracy works personally with each model to capture their essence and transport it into each art piece which, before even reaching the final product, goes through a process of reconfiguration, almost like a jigsaw puzzle. Water­colours, pens and even her handmade stitch and line technique bring her pieces to life.

The final member of the female quintet is sculptor Toin Adams. Born in Zimbabwe, the African landscapes serve as inspiration for her work. “It’s the mystery and magic of that continent. I am also very passionate about the human body and animals,” she says. Her drawings began to emerge at a young age, and even though she never had any academic training, Toin discovered sculpture through a teacher in Africa. Although the self-taught artist works a lot on paintings, she also creates sculptures of full-scale monuments, both public and private, shaped mainly with steel, glass, stone, resin and reinforced concrete. Founder of the Imaginary Beings association, which brings together artists from different countries, Toin has already showcased her work all over the world.

Created almost two years ago, Quinta Art Collective has had four exhibitions to its name, and there is no shortage of plans for the future. “Our main goal now is to reach as many people as possible and make ourselves known. Then we would like to have our own gallery with our own space to work in. It would be great to have a permanent space with our pieces that the public could recognise as our home,” says Andrea M. Bird. “Being a collective is one of our superpowers,” she adds.
“Since we are a group of women, we picture ourselves growing old together, having tea and biscuits and making art until we can’t anymore,” says Tracy Carson. “We have a true and genuine friendship between all of us.”

To discover the work of each artist, visit the collective’s website or book a visit to the exhibition at Dunn Studio, in Boliqueime.

Tracy Carson
Toin Adams
Jessica Dunn
Jane Rodenburg
Andrea M. Bird