Emily Young, We Are Stone's Children at the Fine Art Society

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Jackie Wullschlager for the Financial Times: This superb show of new work by Britain’s greatest living stone sculptor comes from Venice, where monumental, hieratic, yet strongly individualised heads were displayed this summer in the cloister of the Madonna dell’Orto church. Recalling Rodin’s expressiveness and Moore’s abstracting drive, these have a fugitive, fleeting quality – with beauty paradoxically trapped in ancient, solid stone – redolent of Giacometti and Hans Josephsohn.

Modernist to the core in humanist impulse and commitment to “truth to materials”, Young carves half-finished heads to allow geological accident – veins, splits, crevasses – to determine the character and energy of each work. A sweeping, abbreviated, figurative profile is suggested but part of the rock is left raw, unpolished – an art of process, questioning, subservience to time and chance. “Wild Mountain Head” has Grecian features hewn from clastic igneous rock, with flamboyant hair flaring behind like an angel’s wing, giving the piece a soaring, upward thrust. “Dark Forest Head” and “Dark Lightning Head”, in dolomitic limestone, streaked with gold, are black, flattened faces, eyes closed, definitive as primitive statuary; those carved in red limestone (“Red Mountain Head”, “Earth Song”) are more turbulent, laced with fractures. An onyx “Honey Head” glows, reflecting light; “Crystal Head” exposes the crystalline structure of quartzite, its hardness offsetting the fragility of an incomplete, rough/smooth face in a piece laying bare the experience of its making.

Read the full article on the Financial Times.