Exhibition runs 1st Oct - 7th Oct 2012
Private view 4th Oct 6 - 9pm
Location: Gallery & Project Space
Peninsulas, like the beautiful one on the West Coast of Scotland where Caroline Younger has her studio, are places of incomplete physical separation. They are not islands, but are profoundly individuated, and have great distances of coastal boundary line relative to their interior surface area. In Scotland their topographical interiors may be busy for their size. A straight flying, business class crow, looking down at Younger’s part of Scotland, would be glad to avoid the road traveller’s need for compliance with winding coastal routes.
Younger’s art has been on a long journey of individuation. It’s as if it has followed and explored the bays, inlets and tidal revealings of a circumference of ideas, people and things, to arrive at a place, not so far from where it started out, but from where a much improved view can be enjoyed. Younger’s art has been determined by a painstaking, shy work process in printmaking, painting, ceramics and sculpture, as well as by her life’s travels: three children, three husbands and three divorces, three grandchildren, and three honours degrees (English, social anthropology, and fine art), to which should be added mention of the sensitive management of a significant Scottish landscape, committee work in London, and a social existence that has included acts of generous enabling (including much fine cooking) in the service of artists, poets, and others in the arts, going as far back as the late 1960’s.
Some of Younger’s work shows precision in its attention to the natural forms she finds on her peninsula – grasses and seaweeds, stones, seedlings, lichens and algae, tidal movements – and can be situated in a lineage that includes the work of early conceptual artists working with ideas of taxonomy or, more recently, ideas of ecology. There is also a more painterly tradition that includes artists like Paul Nash. Much of it seems reminiscent of marine biology and being in water (Roger Deakin wrote in his book Waterlog about swimming in a flooded slate quarry on a remote island, Belnahua, to which Younger took him by boat). Some of the work is dynamically inexact, more like summonings of hinted-at-things and their relationships of colour, scale, texture and form. These might be situated in a colourful, lyrical tradition that includes Joan Miró or 1960’s psychedelic hallucination, to which Younger is a legitimate heir, from having grown up in the very heart of that period’s playful culture.
Qualities of diligence, endurance, and resistant mystery can be mentioned. Younger’s part of Scotland is particularly rich in cup and ring petroglyphs (prehistoric rock carvings) amongst whose unknown meanings she grew up, and which, among other things, offer us a model of retrospective acceptance and wonderment at unknown impulses of mark making. Younger’s art is, also, an endeavour of mark making, her vision worked into and out of the metaphorical hard stone and rock of her peninsula environment, from whose deep currents, winds, and sunsets she makes something to give us enduring pleasure.
NEAL BROWN Artist and Writer