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Oil Paintings By Ann Young Ann Young started her career as a ceramic and wood sculptor and did not start painting until about 20 years ago. Mostly self taught, it
Oil Paintings By Ann Young
Ann Young started her career as a ceramic and wood sculptor and did not start painting until about 20 years ago. Mostly self taught, it is obvious she has found much success. Her sensuous use of brilliant color, her provocative subject matter and her skill and technique are undeniably accomplished. “She is a master of her medium—oil—and has the additional skill of mixing mystery and metaphor into the paint”, writes Seven Days.
One cannot help but study closely Young’s paintings. You are drawn in by the color and the people, but you linger to decipher exactly what is going on in the background. Suffice it to say there is much to consider.
Young’s website is arranged by categories. One is called “In a Dangerous Time.” She writes that the “work reflects her personal feelings of distress AND hope about every situation that we, and previous generations, have left our children.” Many of the paintings in Now, You Tell the Story fall into this category, including The Gleaners, Youngs reinterpretation of Jean Francois Millet’s 1857 painting of the same title. In Millet’s painting, the three women in the foreground are scavenging the meager remains of a recent harvest. Young’s three women scavenge a field full of garbage. Her garbage truck stands where Millet placed a hay wagon, her nuclear-power plant stacks replace his of hay. Millet paints rural peasantry before the Industrial Revolution, Young paints some of what has happened since.
Ann Young’s “A History of Thomas Moore” also tells a haunting story. In the foreground she presents an Indigenous Native American boy in traditional dress, his hair braided. In the background is a boy with short hair and traditional school-boy clothing. This is the story of Thomas Moore Keesick, the youngest child of Paul Desjarlais and Hannah Moore Keesick of the Muscowpetung Saulteaux First Nation. From 1891-1910, children as young as 4 years were systemically taken from their families by the Canadian government and placed in “Indian Reservation Schools” to be assimilated into society. The goal was to disrupt the nation of Indian people —that “there be no Indians in Canada, no “Indian problem” and no “Indian Department” in the government.” Thomas Moore was taken in 1896 at eight years old. His name became Student #22. Like an estimated 6000 other vulnerable children, including his sister Julia, he died, probably from tuberculosis, as a result of being institutionalized. Ann Young again relies on her brush, not her voice, to express her grief and share the painful detail of that dangerous time, and the grief of the parents and the Indian Nation. She does so in vivid color and masterful detail, but depends on the viewer to find the back-story.
The ever present back-story is Ann Young’s signature as much as is her mastery of the medium. The reason, the personal story, she brings to each painting is exactly that —personal. She invites, nay almost insists, that the viewer interprets their own story.
All of these paintings are pictures of people.
For me, pictures of people are universal because, when looking at others, one looks at one’s self. The work in this show represent several of my introspections. Some are about the troubles in our world. Others celebrate the immense and amazing variety of human beings. Since I am not a person who can easily express my thoughts verbally, I have let my paintings become my voice. I try to express both the simultaneous joy and despair that I encounter, every day, in every person.
Each of my paintings tell a story. What stories do they tell you? Often, I don’t know what a painting is about until it is finished. After I put my brush down, the piece no longer belongs to me alone. It is up to the viewer to complete the story that the painting begins.
I find inspiration everywhere, and often in unexpected places. Sometimes an idea for a painting springs, fully formed, into my mind. Sometimes it takes years to develop.
I am self taught in oil painting (with a little help from my friends) and have been painting for about 20 years. I have dabbled in many different subject matters, but find that pictures of people are what fulfill me most. My work has been shown extensively in Northern New England and New York City.