The Boston Globe, December 21, 2000
- Cate McQuaid
In his artist’s statement, Andrew Young reflects on the human urge to categorize. We remove plants and animals from their habitats to study them; then we cluster like with like, which doesn’t often reflect the way things exist in nature. The world of knowledge becomes its own habitat, raising things to an iconic nature, and creating new worlds and new cultures that have nothing to do with the way things were before humans, with our inquiring minds, came on the scene.
In his show of collages at the Alpha Gallery, Young comes up with his own visual classification systems, making his own insular worlds. Using sheets of rice paper that he treats in countless ways―stains, folds, writes over, paints on, ages―he builds up collages that attempt to span space and time.
Fables and Seas series (c-167), 2000
Collage of hand-painted papers on
museum board, 22 x 31 in.
He layers the paper in irregular grids of many layers that give the feeling of shifting, sometimes deep space. The rough edges and water stains imply that time has passed as these images have come together. One untitled piece has at its center a square of blue paper, bounded by pieces or orange, gold, and brown. Three repeating paintings of a plant hover over the blue; they appear blotched and spotted with age. Beneath and around them, like their shadows or reflections, hang rectangles of blue paper imprinted with white drawings of shells. On the outskirts are two paintings of a white bud against a deep-blue ground. A sheet of paper with oblique handwriting sits on the upper left, covered with squares of gold, translucent paper. The varied squares of paper read like cards being shuffled, each packed with visual information: texture, color, image, and text. Each piece represents a new deal, just as each new plant or animal represents a reshuffling of genetic material.