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Artist Millicent Young

Millicent Young

High Falls, NY, USA


American, b. 1958   —   What it is to be human in a larger than human world has been the focus of Millicent Young's work for 28 years. Fragility, endurance, loss, the capacity for awe and to hold paradox: these are portals to the interior pathways of transformation, individually and collectively expressed. They are central to the content, form, and context of Young's work. Her practice is deeply informed by spiritual ecology, cultural practices of transformation and healing, and the essentiality of inter being. Focusing on subjects such as extinction, habitat collapse, and the atrocities of war, Young's work challenges what divides us: within our own being, human from human, human from other than human, culture from nature. Beauty exists alongside brutality; astonishment alongside labor. Personal and political are not separate. The boundaries between victim and perpetrator or predator and prey are movable. To witness acts of violence and to witness moments of grace and numinosity is to become fully present to the irreconcilable. To accept the task of witnessing as artist and viewer is to become permeable. To be changed is to create change. All of Young's work is made by hand with simple tools and methods she has developed over years. Some processes are highly repetitive, the form emerging through accretion. Others involve a single irreversible action; from many attempts only one is right. All labor is a powerful meditation, a physical encounter with the unknown and the record of labor itself becomes content. Young is a full time studio artist focusing on sculpture, installation, and inter-media collaborations involving sculpture, sound, poetry, and movement. She received her MFA in 1997 (James Madison University) and received Professional Artist Fellowships from Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in 1999 and 2014. Since 1995, her work has received numerous awards from curators affiliated with the National Gallery/Smithsonian, Hirshhorn, Dia, New, Guggenheim, and Whitney Museums in juried exhibitions. It received a top award at the Biennale in Florence Italy (2005). Her work is included in the National Museum of Women in the Arts collection. Young’s work was featured on the cover of Sculpture Magazine (March/April 2020). She was selected for the Distinguished Alumni Award in Art 2021-2022 by the School of Art, Design, and Art History at James Madison University.

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