Hamish Young (b.1972 Rotherham, UK) studied sculpture at the Royal College of Art, 1996-1998. He is an award-winning artist with work having been exhibited at The Royal West of England Academy, The Saatchi Gallery and The Mall Galleries. His work is held in the Victoria and Albert Museum and private collections in Switzerland and the UK.
Young’s work is autoethnographic, exploring ‘in between’ spaces, drawing on feelings associated with loss and abandonment from his experiences as an adoptee. As such he has cultivated a schism in his art practice crossing the boundary of the sculpture and drawing.
His pencil drawings of the estuary edge on tracing paper float in the frame space, leading to a sense of disconnection and vulnerability. Tracing paper enables a trace or connection with another (image), but also obscures details. This echoes Young’s feelings of being both apart from and part of two families. Details, life events and images missing from both family experiences. ‘In between’ two families.
The subject of the estuary edge pulls the viewer into the Romanticism, where waters and sky merge and land is lost, clarity and permanence being elusive. Like the marks left behind in the silt, hidden again by the tides, the seaweed resonates with Young’s experiences following adoption, surviving at the edge of two environments, ambivalent, moving with the changing tides.
Removing something from one place and placing it in another is an artistic device, familiar via Duchamp. Young’s sculptures use this to illustrate transitioning between two environments. His pencil lead brushes are silent; immobilised, like a half-breath held. Leads, like neural pathways, both connected and disconnected are supported in an exposed position. Any connection with a surface to make a mark risks the leads shattering. Not connecting, is safer. These speak of the challenges Young has faced forming secure relationships.
Similarly, his pencil lead shells, and nests sit at the boundary of both Sculpture and Drawing, ‘in between’, at once apart from and a part of each genre. The nest is also an ‘in between’, a temporary home, a boundary attempting to keep the inside from the outside. It crosses two discernible limits.
April 27, 2020
Sculpture, Illustration, E - H, Contemporary