Lot 9
  • 9

Emily Young

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  • Emily Young
  • Red Mountain Head
  • dolomitic limestone
  • height: 87cm., 34in. (without plinth)
  • height: 237cm., 93 1/4 in. (with plinth)

Catalogue Note

Serene and majestic, Red Mountain Head is a powerful example of Emily Young’s work. The smooth, carved contours of the face emerge from the raw beauty of the stone as though part of an organic process of growth. Of all sculptors working in stone, Young is uniquely attuned to the living history of the materials she works with and her creative process draws out the individual character of each stone; she leaves much of it unworked, allowing its natural idiosyncrasies to shape the final sculpture. As she explains: ‘When I work a piece of stone, the mineral occlusions of the past are revealed, the layers of sediment unpeeled; I may open in one knock something that took millions of years to form: dusts settling, water dripping, forces pushing, minerals growing – material and geological revelations: the story of time on Earth shows here, sometimes startling, always beautiful’ (E. Young, A Stone Story. Notes on Working with Stone in the 21st Century, 2007).

The passage of time is left visible for all to see and Young uses this to inform the character of the face that then emerges. Although she carves a new face for the stone something of the ancientness of the material endures – an effect that is emphasised by a visual resemblance to the sculpture of antiquity. This timelessness imbues the heads with a remarkably contemplative quality; deliberately expressionless, they evoke a sense of stoical calm. Young is keen to emphasise this aspect of her works: ‘I carve the stone into familiar forms, carrying with them an emotional charge; the forms are beautiful, the stone broken. The expressions of sadness, of reflection, are easy to read – I like to think that anyone who ever lived on Earth, anywhere, any-when, would recognise these forms, and the expressions’ (ibid.).