William Wright, Artist Projects, Sydney
Hilarie Mais was William Wright’s partner in life as well as in William Wright • Artists Projects (WW•AP). She describes Wright’s first impression of Coen Young saying: “There was an instant recognition of a very talented and serious young artist.
“Over the years Bill and Coen became very close confidants, forming a friendship far beyond teacher and gallerist,” Mais adds. “When Bill died in October , Coen came back early from Germany to be a pall-bearer at Bill’s funeral, dedicating his 2014 exhibition at WW•AP, all your influences, to Bill’s mentorship and memory.”
Mais first encountered Young’s work while he was still a student. As she recalls: “Coen’s obvious dedication and commitment to his practice was what struck me in someone so young, the intellectual framework was strong, but also the physical presence of the work and level of craftsmanship and control of material was impressive. We attended his graduation show and invited him to exhibit.”
And since then she has seen his practice mature. “There is always a constancy and integrity in the work as he continues to push and expand his investigations,” she says. “The challenges and the unpredictability of his chosen materials imbue the work with a tense edginess and sensitivity despite the initial first impression of a fugitive calm.”
Young may be an emerging Australian painter, but according to Mais, “Coen is an artist of the world, not a geographical location, with immense potential who will stretch beyond our shores”.
Co-director, Fox/Jensen Gallery, Auckland
Andrew Jensen, director at Jensen Gallery in Sydney and co-director of Fox/Jensen Gallery in Auckland, is Coen Young’s dealer in New Zealand. “Our represen- tation is new,” he says, “although I have been aware of his work for some time having met him not long after arriving in Sydney four years ago.” And even before hosting his first solo show in New Zealand, Jensen is taking Young further abroad. “The exhibition in Auckland, of 13 major mirror paintings, will be our first, however we are thrilled to be taking three paintings to Art Basel Hong Kong where they will be presented alongside artists such as Günter Umberg, Tomislav Nikolic, Jacqueline Humphries and Callum Innes; a context that feels rich and appropriate for his work.”
Jensen explains that he was drawn to Young’s paint- ings because of his rigorous approach to his craft. “Coen can make. He seems to feel acutely aware of this responsibility. He doesn’t fetishize the process but is deeply involved in investigating material and its behaviour,” Jensen explains. “This knowledge and approach means that he is more able than most to make works that can meet the conceptual aspirations he has through the sensitive making of objects.”
And according to Jensen, Young can hold his own alongside much more experienced art world players. “We have presented a long line of major painters over the years, particularly abstract painters from Europe and America, as well as Australia. Coen’s work doesn’t just join this conversation, it adds to it. He brings a startling poise and consideration given his age com- pared to these major figures.”