American Art Collector - - Contents - Ge­orge Bil­lis Gallery 525 W. 26th Street, Ground Floor • New York, NY 10001 • (212) 645-2621 •­bil­

Open Spa­ces

The Span­ish non-ob­jec­tive painter Joan Miró wrote, “The spec­ta­cle of the sky over­whelms me. I am over­whelmed when I see a cres­cent moon or the sun in an im­mense sky. In my paint­ings there are of­ten tiny forms in vast empty spa­ces. Empty spa­ces, empty hori­zons, empty plains—ev­ery­thing that has been stripped bare has al­ways made a strong im­pres­sion on me.”

In his early paint­ings, Trevor Young put “tiny forms in vast empty spa­ces” and soon re­al­ized they were a dis­trac­tion. “I was a street painter with my teacher, and one day he said, ‘Paint a man with a neck­tie.’ I did, and a guy in a neck­tie came up and bought it. He prob­a­bly thought, ‘That’s a guy like me in this guy’s painting.’ I did in­clude peo­ple for a while as dark sil­hou­ettes but de­cided to take them out. Peo­ple break up the beauty of ar­chi­tec­ture. A per­son cre­ates a nar­ra­tive. I like the feel­ing of iso­la­tion in my work—be­ing com­fort­able and at peace but alone.”

Young’s un­peo­pled land­scapes will be shown in an ex­hi­bi­tion at Ge­orge Bil­lis Gallery in New York Septem­ber 5 through 29.

“Space is ev­ery­thing,” he as­serts. “When I was in col­lege my teacher asked me what my fa­vorite thing was. I said, ‘I like the hor­i­zon­tal.’ In lu­min­ist paint­ings, the hori­zon can sit so far back, and at other times it’s very present. I like to dis­solve the hori­zon and don’t want to work with deep space. I en­joy the mid­dle space.” In a painting like Crude Con­veyor, the eye is at­tracted to the round end of the rail car where it con­tin­ues to re­turn af­ter trav­el­ing un­der the bridge with the train and over the bridge to the light-flooded back­ground.

Grow­ing up in near Wash­ing­ton, D.C., he fre­quented the city’s mu­se­ums. He saw many clas­sic Amer­i­can paint­ings lit­er­ally in a new light when the col­lec­tion of the Cor­co­ran Mu­seum was trans­ferred to the Na­tional Gallery.

“I love Thomas Moran’s paint­ings, and his were some of the paint­ings I saw in a new way at the Na­tional Gallery,” he ob­serves. Pass­ing Protru­sion is a more at­mo­spheric painting than Crude Con­veyor and is in­spired by Moran.

“I de­cided I wanted a grandiose cloud,” he says, “and I wanted it look­ing down on the city.” His loom­ing cloud rises above a city at night, seem­ingly rest­ing on its own lower at­mos­phere stretch­ing hor­i­zon­tally across the im­age. “I love be­ing at the cloud level,” he ob­serves.

“I’ve just started teach­ing again,” he ex­plains, “and I want to teach spa­tial re­la­tions. A pic­ture is an il­lus­tra­tion, but painting at its best is em­bold­ened with mys­tery. I want my stu­dents to learn how lit­tle they have to show to cap­ture our imag­i­na­tion.”

1Pass­ing Protru­sion, oil on can­vas, 30 x 54"2Crude Con­veyor, oil on can­vas, 24 x 28"3De­par­ture Beat, oil on can­vas, 60 x 40"4Mead­ow­landErec­tions, oil on can­vas, 48 x 54"

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