Artist: Nancy Young
Exhibition: As the Crow Flies
Media: Metal, wood, stone, ink, sand, paper
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Dutzi Gallery
About the Artist: Nancy Young has been in and out of school for a large part of her adult life. In 1984, she attended CSULB and was kicked out for behavior. Years later, she came back to CSULB to earn her BFA. While her primary job is working for the Orange County database, art remains her passion and hobby, specifically in the realm of print making. She is inspired greatly by her love for her dogs.
Formal Analysis: Nancy’s work brings about many feelings and textures. By using a variety of mediums, she is able to convey the grittiness, darkness, and loneliness that a crow may feel in reality. Print making is used in many ways, including on metal, paper, and wood, with some of the pieces being interactive and touchable. The up-close portraits of crows are shadowy and grim, peering out into space in their utter isolation. The smaller metal prints of crows create a ghost-like spectre of the birds, making them appear in the hallways as creatures from another time. The textures are deep, long lines that run along the crow’s body, hiding the black feathers and making it appear as a silhouetted nightmare. The sand on the floor, blown by the breeze and trampled on by shoes, reminds us of the winds of time, and that all things will have the same fate as it.
Content Analysis: As the Crow Flies was inspired by the flight of a crow throughout Long Beach and Orange County. Beginning at the CSULB campus, the perspectives of landscape from the crow’s eyes can be seen chronologically on each print on the walls. Moving further away, the crow flies into Orange County, particularly Fountain Valley and Santa Ana. Nancy also drew from a personal loss in life; the death of her husband nine years prior. Using this as inspiration, and also using the life of her dogs, Nancy created a symbolic exhibition of life and death, combining the bitter loneliness of a crow with the beauty of Southern California and the miracle of life itself.
My Experience: I found As the Crow Flies to be very unique in its approach to using multiple mediums of artwork carrying a single theme. The dark aesthetic appealed to me as much as the tangible textures did on the interactive pieces. The creation of a linear story also made the exhibition much more in depth, and allowed for more examination. Overall, I found the gallery to be a very darkly beautiful and dream-like experience, bringing about many feelings drawn from Poe’s “The Raven”.