The different objects Jo Young selects for her still life paintings form strong aesthetic rather than simple utilitarian connections. Together these curious objects seem to converse naturally, like characters in a theatrical stage setting. In each intimate arrangement, drama is created by emphasis, highlights, reflections and shadows.
Drawn from aspects of domestic life, each carefully selected object relates to yet another story, such as a personal memory or specific moment in time, as well as to the circumstances connected to the people, places and times to which they once belonged.
In developing her compositions, Young draws inspiration from the art of the Dutch Baroque, Flemish and French 18th Century still life painters. The classical painting technique of this period involves a slow process including a sepia tonal underpainting, followed by consecutive layers of local colour and finally transparent glazes. Through a meticulous and deeply sensitive approach to painting, Young explores the intrinsic qualities of the materials, pigments, and textures of shell, porcelain, silk, leather and wood.
As each work takes several months to complete, the artist’s forthcoming exhibition is a special event and highlight at Wagner Contemporary this year.
“I can be inspired equally by a found object in an antique store or a walk through a farmers market. I depict objects and nature as life size and create intimacy, transforming the composition through the interaction of light and shadow. In preparing this present series of paintings, I have continually been excited about the actual depth of appreciation of nature I feel every time I work with classical subjects, like the magnificent radicchio." - Jo Young, 2021.