“Grounded in representation and then abstracted through process” is how Laurence Young would describe his current work. All his canvases start out with an abstract, multicolored under-painting that creates the groundwork for what is to follow. Next, a charcoal line drawing, sketched from a life source, is applied. “The drawing sometimes acts as an outline and other times it’s barely noticeable, leaving only hints of ghost marks that were eliminated,” Young says.
For the top layer, his oils are mixed with a cold-wax medium, giving the application of paint a thick, flat, and opaque colored surface. The painted shapes may follow the contours of the line work, but mostly they suggest form and space. At times the various layers and elements of the painting are incongruous with one another, creating deliberate tension. Other times they play together in harmony.
“Adding yet another layer of complexity, I use the under-painting in such a way as to create the unexpected,” Young says. “The process of exposing that under-painting is part of the exploration and discovery in my work.” The back and forth of scraping down and building up the top surfaces keeps the work in constant flux and challenges Young artistically. What seemed to be arbitrary at first in the under-painting suddenly makes sense in the overall expression.
“The choices I make while painting are not always conscious ones–they can be intuitive or even be counterintuitive,” Young says. “I go wherever the process leads me.”