RESEARCH & PRACTICE
Isabel Young’s research engages with multiple aspects in the field of art and design and involves interdisciplinary approaches. Primarily the work extends existing contemporary art practice as an aspect of current theory surrounding ‘expanded painting’. Her practice has reached new conclusions by combining apparently paradoxical processes involving architectural software and traditional painting to form multi-modal hybrid works where the disciplines of architecture, landscape architecture, painting, constructed photography, sculpture and assemblage converge.
Conceptually the practice investigates architectural space and the built environment as a reflection of how we once lived, and how we now live. Young’s wall-based works form an intersection between fictional realities and real spaces making associations between object making, image making and spatial design. Artefacts and architectural indicators inhabit the work, either as found objects, artist-made or artist-painted. They are representative of the evolution of human intellect and our material existence and shift the work from vast distances to one of nearness associated with the cocooned universe of the still life.
The making of the work involves multiple modes of production including digital, scale model-making, assemblage and painted surfaces. Significantly the work originates in AutoCAD, an architectural software where it is in theory possible to draw infinitely, albeit dependent on available memory, and to zoom in and out of virtual spaces. This proposes a unique platform from which to derive a painting, which historically has been confined to the dimensions of its frame. From here the digital moves to laser-precision technology and the physical cutting of exotic woods to be assembled and painted into a hybrid oscillating between the architectural model and traditional oil painting. Drawing on influences from landscape architecture, scale takes on a principle role where measurement represents vast distances or specified dimensions. The final outcomes of the process represent a new form of painting that physically separates (or implodes) the internal mechanisms of a painting into a spatial formation similar to that of a stage set.
Previous bodies of work have investigated the secretive space of still life painting with its rich metaphors and enclosed shallow depth. Peopled by animals, these paintings confronted our complex relationship with the non-human world and presented architecture as a heterotopia of diverse environments. Young’s current practice continues to explore these themes whilst investigating the threshold in architectural space more explicitly.
Through her partnership Hand + Young Projects Isabel Young is undertaking research with Alison Hand into the areas of drawing, architecture and expanded painting. She is particularly interested in the capacity for drawing to disseminate complex ideas, and its use beyond the disciplines of art and design. She is currently curating a large-scale exhibition that will present the diagrams of scientists alongside drawing by designers, architects and artists. 'The Speed of Though' is scheduled for late 2019 at the Newington Gallery at The Art Academy in London.
Isabel Young is an artist and lecturer living and working in London and Surrey. She graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2002 with a Masters in Fine Art. Since that time she has exhibited extensively across the United Kingdom and internationally in New York, Ireland, Japan and Thailand. She has had solo exhibitions in London and also at the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle where she showcased a unique body of work investigating our relationship to animals. Between 2010 and 2012 Young undertook a Masters in Landscape Architecture at the University of Greenwich for which she was awarded distinction. While she continues to practice as a fine artist, landscape architecture continues to be the primary influence on her work.
Young’s work has won many awards including the Gilchrist Fisher Award for Landscape Painting, The Gordon Luton Award for Fine Art from the Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers, the Basel H. Alkazzi Travel Scholarship to New York and the Jerwood Contemporary Painters. Most recently she was granted an award from the Oppenheim-John Downes Memorial Trust to develop her practice and produce her most recent body of artwork.
Alongside her career as an artist she is a Tutor (Research) at the Royal College of Art where she lectures on the Graduate Diploma in Art & Design. She has lectured in fine art & design for over a decade at some of the world’s leading centres for art and design education and has previously held posts at the University for the Creative Arts, the University of Gloucestershire and Central Saint Martins (University of the Arts London) and has acted as visiting lecturer to many other institutions including The Art Academy.