KENNETH VICTOR YOUNG: BEYOND
Kenneth Victor Young (1933-2017) is renowned for experimenting with color, space and soft-edged organic forms in acrylics on unprimed canvas and on paper. Young developed a cosmic abstract style making formal innovations to express phenomena beyond the confines of matter and physical being.
Young transcended corporeal confines in his artwork, yet his career was constrained by ideological categories. Despite his close friendship with former Louisville classmate, Sam Gilliam, Young, a scientist by training, found himself to be a Washington Color School outsider. As a Black abstractionist during the 1960s and 1970s, Young was also at odds with a critical establishment that expected Black artists to employ figural imagery and engage in civil rights politics.
Young, who considered himself an artist first and foremost, imbued his work with authenticity by expressing his personal experiences and emotional responses in Color Painting. Today his legacy continues to expand boundaries for Black artists.
Kenneth Victor Young (1933-2017) was a Color Field painter. Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Young moved to Washington, DC in 1964 where he associated with Howard Mehring, Thomas Downing, Alma Thomas and Sam Gilliam. In 1973 Young was recognized as a prominent Washington Color painter with a solo exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Young’s work has been featured in numerous group exhibitions including: Contemporary Black American Artists, Arts and Industry Building, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC (1969); Black Artists / South, Huntsville