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Christopher Young

Behold the Man

30x20 Inches


Artist Statement

“One might define an artist as a “visual philosopher”. I once heard that an effective philosopher is one who is able to articulate wonder in a clear and unique way. The noted writer Raymond Tallis describes the “state of wonder” as the “proper state of mankind”. It is not a childish state – although we see children more often in this condition – but as adults we become lazy and forget the freshness with which we experienced the world for the first time. Maybe artists can remind us of our forgotten wonder.

When we are in this “state of wonder” we care more – about our life and each other. Wonder seems to equalize humanity. I remember the closeness I felt in downtown Manhattan as a crowd of people paused for a while and looked up towards a solar eclipse. There couldn’t have been a more disparate yet unified group of human beings at that moment of shared awe. This experience was repeated as I entered the Metropolitan Museum of Art and paused with strangers to enjoy the masterpieces of human creativity.

In the Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde states “All art is quite useless”. Maybe, paradoxically, this lack of utility is what gives art its value. I heard an analogy between dancing and walking. Dance is purely for the sake of movement whereas walking is to “get somewhere”. Maybe art is in the realm of means and experience as opposed to the realm of ends and results. Simply, art is experience for experience’s sake – to dance without going anywhere.

My latest work is about life’s patterns. We all seek for pattern and order in the nature of life. Different cultures had different names for the universal patterns – for the Greeks – logos, for the Persians – asha, Chinese – tao, Japanese – shinto, the biologist – DNA. All want life to make sense or have meaning. The hypotheses of the artist and philosopher and scientist are the same – the universe makes sense and this conception, as we want to believe in our own particular ways, steadies us on this strange, mysterious and most definitely beautiful and awe-inspiring planet.

As I turn 50, I certainly ponder life and its fleeting nature – the impermanence of everything I love. I am reminded by the river of Heraclitus – just as you can never step into the same river twice – you can only experience each moment of beauty once. Maybe an artist can stop a moment in the river flow and capture it for repeated observation and celebration.”

Christopher Young
June 2013