Selected Catalog Essays
Paint on Metal: Modern and Contemporary Explorations and Discoveries
Tucson Museum of Art 2005
- Julie Sasse, Chief Curator
Paint on Metal (excerpt)
Staining rice and Bristol papers with various natural pigments and ordering them in carefully arranged geometric configurations, Andrew Young creates both abstract and representational works that focus on a reverence for nature and the essence of life. Including imaginary plant forms, flowers, illustrations of insects taken from scientific manuals, and an occasional vintage postcard or tintype, Young often designates a single, stylized image of a bird to represent the solitary soul. About Young’s paintings, critic John Brunetti explains, “His works imply that the true nature of existence lies in the series of small and seemingly disconnected revelations that unfold during the endless cycles of transformation that happen before us.”1
Interested in the reflective properties and malleability of aluminum, Young had experimented with metal, but found the process of “aging” the resilient aluminum to be difficult, Finding a ready supply of rusted, corroded metal at a nearby demolition site, however, the artist seized the opportunity to use the metal for its inherent erosion, color, and texture. Unheard-of Riches (2004) is a gridded, segmented composition of botanical images painted in white and arranged in systematic order; a single insect illustration dominates the picture plane. At the lower left, a small tintype of a man standing in front of a painted canvas backdrop of a garden scene appears. The man is diminutive compared to the flora and fauna surrounding him—a reference to the importance of nature and humankind’s place in it. The natural patina of the metal echoes the effect of manipulated paper in Young’s earlier work, and suggests a visual embodiment of transience and the ephemeral nature of change.2
Unheard-of Riches (m-106), 2004
Paint, painted papers, and found ferrotype
on steel-faced wood panel, 30 x 23 in.
1 John Brunetti, “Unfolding the Essence of Being: The Collages of Andrew Young,” Andrew Young: Collages (Urbana-Champaign, Illinois: I Space, University of Illinois 2001) 10.
2 Andrew Young, artist’s statement, 16 March 2004.