In her most recent paintings, Young creates a lovely cycle of life that flows from youth to maturity. Taken as a whole, her work examines the process of aging, how the rugged, physical beauty of youth gives way to mellow, emotional beauty of maturity. How focus on the immediate pictorial concerns gives way to larger picture issues. As a metaphor it suggests the coming of age of a painter, of a female painter: the small brushstrokes resemble seeds that will soon sprout into weathered, durable filled-with-experience trees that brim with grown-up beauty and that have withstood the ravages of time.
She creates arboretums from daubs and splashes and crosshatches of paint. Sometimes she builds up the brush strokes so thick that you can't see through into the pictorial depth; here her pictorial space is especially dense and shallow, like a complex root system, like overhanging branches, like piles of leaves strewn on the ground. Or else it looks like the bark of weathered trees. In these narrow spaced pictures she doesn't use a wide range of color. Instead she composes her palette with hints of white, of rose, of yellow, or of green; no one color predominates and so doesn't suggest any modulation of space through hue or tone. She makes the space narrow because she wants us to examine the intricate, ornate, and opulent design of the surfaces. The effect of these surfaces is hypnotic: our eyes follow the strokes that create patters that imply shapes. And the resemblance to the wheat fields of Vincent van Gogh is more than coincidental.
Sometimes she loosens up the brush strokes and introduces clearly differentiated color into her work. Sometimes she overlaps the vertical strokes, so as to suggest the forms of trunks, treetops, or else a cluster of treetops. In this work she will also introduce colors, usually greens and yellows, whose push-pull combinations open the surrounding space and reference fields and forests. Then distinctions can be made between groves of trees and the empty space around them. And the resemblance to the color field paintings of Helen Frankenthaler is more than coincidental
Her work is positive, upbeat. It's self-confident: it doesn't strive for stand-out, strident effects. Instead, through the patient application of paint, through the placement of colored shapes, she wants to show us the interconnectedness of everything; she wants to show us the lushness of life; she wants to remind us of the fluidity and adaptability of organic things.
Her work addresses the passage of time. If the work creates a pictorial chronology it begins with a youthful vigor - short, choppy, brushstrokes that suggest nervous energy, narrow space that suggests horizons not yet discovered, color that's simple and unmodulated that suggests inexperience. Then it can be said to evolve to more mature pictorial concerns- long, fluid brushstrokes that relate to painterly confidence, space that's more complex and sophisticated and that relate to finding one's place in the world, and color that's more lush, like decanted wine, which relates to the richness of accumulated experience.
-James Scarborough, 2007
James Scarborough is an art critic and historian with over 2,000 publications for the domestic and international art press. He's written for such publications as Flash Art, art/text, Art in America, Art Press, and Apollo." He has an MA in art history from the Courtuald Institute at the University of London.