John Young is an Australian artist whose background includes academic studies in philosophy and mathematics. His early participation in the arts was primarily based on the formal and logical constraints of conceptual art practices and minimalism. Later emphasis on painting addressed the limitations of representation and tended to deconstruct or question the integrity of visual genres like expressionism or romanticism. More recently his work has taken on complex historical narratives, tangentially related to his Chinese heritage.
In this piece there's a tension between images on many levels. Both the foreground flower and background wallpaper design are essentially kitsch, overused and laden with the excesses of consumer oriented mass production. Their tasteful combination ultimately draws the viewer into an uncomfortable position. Should we bathe in its vacuous beauty, or look behind the curtain so to speak? Choosing the latter becomes an opportunity to consider the physical materials and technical processes employed to create the work. By generating affect (albeit fatigued) through essentially redundant images, Young draws attention to a liminal space at their common boundary. Viewers will interpret its significance, dependent upon their mistrust or belief in this painting as a vehicle for contemporary visual communication. Auction estimate (NZ $6500 - $9000)