Pictured: Car Park by George Young
George Young, who returns to the Art Stable
on April 29, has a knack of reflecting the general mood and his new show celebrates slowness, precision and essence. Driven by a desire to distance himself from technology, instead Young brings a forensic focus to the art of painting.
By making many versions of things, people and places he knows well, Young wants to capture character, essence and the third dimension he finds missing in digital media.
Having spent recent years experimenting with installation and sculptural works Young has immersed himself in the fundamentals and technicalities of painting; in a sense, he says, it’s like learning to do it all over again.
“Something I’ve become very conscious of over the last couple of years is how out of touch with so many things I am as a result of technology. I found that my influences and source material were all historical and digital, all very flat and tertiary. So I thought if I want to make good paintings I need to go back to source, as it were. Painting is the best way of doing this. Something about it being so hand made means that it’s very direct.’
The result of this immersion is a series of bold, complex works which yet retain that sense of timelessness which is the artist’s trademark.
Young gives his paintings clarity with delineation and a flattened out, plan-like approach so that they meet you face on. Subjects of great simplicity - a vase of flowers in blue or green – fill the canvas to become visceral and hard-hitting .
“With painting,’ Young says, ‘I can show something that I cannot with digital media: the character of an object, the materiality of a line, the haptic nature of a two dimensional image.”
Norway, (pictured below) shows two women on a sea wall, their shadows caught in the sun, evoking a mid-20th
century Hopper-esque feel.
Each painting hides a story of significance to the artist. Cherry Tree (Leo) depicts a dead tree in his parents’ garden, his nephew playing in front of it.
“Cherry Tree is, in a way, more complicated in terms of mood. The painting is of a tree in my parents’ garden that died recently which is sad because it has been there my whole life and is itself the subject of a great many paintings by my mother. The painting shows it dead. But for something dead it was incredibly animated and very elegant. Without any leaves on it you could see almost for the first time its structure. The boy beneath the tree is my nephew Leo who is often out on that lawn playing some kind of ball game. He is very like me at that age apparently some ways this painting could have been painted thirty years ago, even the car would have been the same.’
Island House, a favourite spot in Norway, is shown in the whole, as if the viewer has panoramic vision. We see the Island House as the artist himself has seen it and lived it, we feel his affection for a house he has stayed in many times.
‘There are lots of wonderful things about (Island House) but one is that because it is surrounded by rocks and water it’s actually quite difficult to get a view of it as a whole. Even if you can you don’t get that sense that that is necessarily how it is to be there. I’ve tried to stretch the place out in a way that shows something of what it’s like to know it, like a person.’
George Young grew up in Dorset and now lives in London. He has showed in London, New York, Los Angeles, Brussels, Stockwell as three previous sell out shows at The Art Stable. George Young at The Art Stable April 29 – 27 May