The work of Brooklyn artist Doug Young questions what it means to live in the world today: an experience imbued with both wonder and boredom. He has spent 20 years asking, “Where do we find awe?” “What is repulsion?” “What physical qualities does a work of art need to have to elicit a viewer’s sense of mystery, amazement, curiosity, unease, or disgust?”
Utilizing traditionally recognized folk art mediums—such as reverse painting on glass, woodworking, and rug hooking—Young engages with labor-intensive craft that celebrates the material over the cerebral and its egalitarian approach to art-making. A student of American popular culture, the folk arts offer him a means to speak to the spirit of America’s rich creative past, but using imagery and iconography that address our urban and technological present.
Doug Young’s current reverse paintings on glass express a present and future social/political system that is unbalanced and not sustainable. He explores tensions between the natural and manmade world in a manner that is dystopian yet hopeful. These paintings suggest a society at a turning point—one dominated by powers of our own making and undoing.
In 2001 Doug Young was awarded the Guinness Book World Record for the longest nonstop banjo performance in history—24 hours total.