Coen Young’s paintings only reveal their gesture upon close inspection. His “flawed” silver-nitrate mirrors are in fact painted in a succession of large, but almost invisible gestures that are only apparent at the margins of the compositions where the gestures terminates at the edges of the large paper sheets. The mirror itself which fails to hold the reflection seems to wipe the image away in a gesture that erases rather than records. If gestures is the residue of autobiography then Young’s surfaces work equally to both capture then negate human presence.
Young’s ‘Study for a Mirror’ works deliver a willfully distorted and ghostly echo of their surrounding environment. Any traces of a stable reflected image are defeated as light bends across the undulations and marks in the surface. Young draws on a material process determined to capture image and yet his processes lead to a denial of image. Like a reflective pond disturbed by a zephyr, the surfaces of these paintings prevent any Narcissus-like revelry.
Ultimately his works have a character that is determined by sensitive making, somewhat unruly materials and careful considerations of scale and composition.