Coen Young’s distinctive practice is grounded in painting, but his use of materials and techniques sees these densely layered works extend both form and narrative with the assistance of other artistic means. Drawing from a deep interest in material possibilities, Young institutes painting as a critical medium to link fundamental aesthetic questions and formal thinking to reflect on contemporary culture and models of representation in art, technology and society. Young’s most notable works of the past decade — his ongoing, singular mirror paintings — undergo an alchemical process akin to early photography where the presence of silver nitrate establishes a playfully fragile equilibrium between the object and its environment. The rich reflective surfaces accentuate the unique marks formally created through an anomalous preparation of the support where a labour-intensive process leads to highly crafted and captivating objects. Viewers are inescapably drawn in, only to be taken aback, finding confusion as their reflection — and understanding of the work — warps within the artists beguiling take on abstraction.
Young lives and works in Sydney; his works are represented throughout significant Australasian museum collections as well as important private collections across Australia, Asia, Europe, UK and North America. He has been included in exhibitions at notable institutions and galleries, such as the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (2020); Muesum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2019); The National Art School, Sydney (2018); Kronenberg Mais Wright, Sydney (2018); Murdoch University, Perth (2017); Artbank, Sydney (2016); Fox Jensen McCrory, Auckland (2016); William Wright Artist Projects, Sydney (2015); and Penrith Regional Gallery, Sydney (2015).