Arts and Entertainment

Young's in a terra cotta state of mind

Bridget Young’s organic sculptures push at the boundaries of ceramics and figurative fine art. - ROGERICK ANAS/Staff Photo
Bridget Young’s organic sculptures push at the boundaries of ceramics and figurative fine art.
— image credit: ROGERICK ANAS/Staff Photo

Ceramic sculptor Bridget Young’s body of work could be called “work of the body.”

Young’s terra cotta sculptures, on view at Bainbridge Arts and Crafts are female forms that feature visual puns on “woman as vessel,” with pot and bell-like shapes for lower torsos, and head and arms attenuated into appendages that resemble handles.

“I’m looking at the architecture of the body,” Young said, “how different forms have connotations for states of mind.”

While feminist art has deconstructed woman-as-object for three decades, Young’s is a particularly skillful and subtle rendering.

Young precisely locates the works on the border between “container” and “figure.” The tension generated as the viewer tries to categorize work that pushes in both directions at once makes for dynamic, edgy viewing.

Young is a self-conscious artist in a positive sense. Aware of both formal considerations and historical antecedents, she erects sensibility on the scaffold of education.

Her work embodies the benefits of training at a really good art school – in her case, at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, where she was awarded a bachelor of fine arts degree in 1991.

Young now educates ceramic artists in classes at her Indianola studio. She also shows at Seattle’s prestigious Foster White gallery.

Young, who grew up on Bainbridge, says that bringing work home to exhibit is a way of giving back to the island, but her ambitions extend further.

“I show as much as I can,” Young said. “Success to me is to make art full-time.”

While the largest work in the BAC show is 16 inches tall, her most recent work is large-scale.

Young has a five-and-a-half foot sculpture in Seattle Art Museum’s rental gallery and has been invited to make an eight-foot work for the 2002 Bumbershoot festival at Seattle Center.

“I want people to attach personal possessions to the Bumbershoot piece,” Young said. She footnotes her inspiration to Mexican ‘milagro,’ the miniature metal body parts that are affixed to velvet shrines in Mexico as supplications for good health.

“I do want this piece to be a way for people to pray,” Young said, “a way for them to express their spirituality.”

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Bridget Young’s ceramic sculpture is on view through May at Bainbridge Arts and Crafts with glass artist Merrilee Moore and photographer Cameron Bahnson.

Call 842-3132 for more information.

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