Ann Young: Painting Innocence and Consequences
At AVA Gallery
Some of Ann Young’s works seem eerily prescient, or maybe it is just that war and strife are an ever present part of the human condition. Still, my initial reaction when I encountered her work last week at AVA Gallery was to think, and feel, “Ukraine.”
So I was not surprised later to find this in her artist’s statement:
“ . . . the works in this show reflect my fears and concerns about the state of the world today, and the dangers we all are living with. Most of these paintings are about innocent people, affected by forces outside their control, who must, nevertheless, suffer the consequences.”
Consider “Home Front,” (above) painted in 2018 but capturing much of what bleeds through our television screens now: fear and resolution sharing a single facial expression, the role of women as protectors, mothers whose tending-to activities and gestures are generous and constant.
Other of Young’s work in this exhibition depict a trio engaged in conversation (I read it as neighbors on a street in Kyiv), and an elder whose hand covers her face as she remembers and recites a story. So much history made by military invasions, so much history lost in the deaths of older people whose stories will remain ever silent. (As but an example: A 96 year-old Holocaust survivor was killed last week in a Russian strike on Kharkiv. He had been imprisoned in four different concentration camps. His name was Borys Romanchenko.) On a different note, Young also presents a modern reinterpretation of “The Gleaners” that substitutes a garbage dump in the shadow of (nuclear?) cooling towers for Millet’s fields.
Ann Young’s is one of four solo exhibitions celebrating Women’s History Month at AVA Gallery. The other three feature works by Olivia Janna Genereaux, Danielle Klebes, and Rachel Montroy, all on view until April 15. Click here for more information on the exhibitions and about AVA Gallery, located just off the green in downtown Lebanon, New Hampshire.
(Photo, top, Torin Porter’s Astronomer, located just outside of AVA Gallery, today standing with Ukraine.)
Welcome! You’re reading Artful, a blog about arts and culture in the Upper Valley, and I hope you’ll subscribe and then share this with your friends and on your social media.
And in case you are wondering . . . Susan B. Apel shuttered a lifelong career as a law professor to continue an interest (since kindergarten) in writing. Her freelance business, The Next Word, includes literary and feature writing; her work has appeared in a variety of lit mags and other publications including Art New England, The Woven Tale Press, The Arts Fuse, and Persimmon Tree. She connects with her neighbors through Artful, her blog about arts and culture in the Upper Valley. She’s in love with the written word.