By Phil Young
Artist Phil Young twists the commonly-held perception of wood as a stiff material in his mind-bending sculptures made of polished wood and metal. Each artwork focuses on a single piece of wood that has been carefully carved to appear as if it is being stretched, twisted, bound, or squashed, often by visible forces like metal rings or nails. Young works carefully with each bit of raw material, paying attention to its natural shape and grain as he transforms it into a finished work.
Although his work is non-representational, he is able to evoke a surprising degree of emotion through the dynamic pressure the pieces appear to be subjected to. “I wouldn’t be satisfied if all I did was make beautiful pieces,” the artist explains. “I want the people who see them to question what beauty is, so I take inspiration from places you wouldn’t expect to find beauty, including surgery, diseases, wounded or wrinkled skin, and try to make that look beautiful. I think if you can find beauty even in these places, you can find happiness wherever you are.”