Robert Youds is getting juiced. His new exhibit, Turn On Your Electric, is on now at Toronto’s Diaz Contemporary gallery.
Youds, a leading practitioner of light-based art, is also a professor of painting in UVic’s Visual Arts department. This is his third exhibition with Diaz Contemporary; it includes new sculptures and paintings that demonstrate his ongoing interest in colour and light as apparatus with which to experience perceptual and atmospheric conditions related to the human, contemporary, and urban realm. Be sure to check out these 11 images from the exhibition.
Originally positioned as a painter, by the mid-90s the Victoria-based Youds shifted his practice of translating light and colour to what he describes as “light paintings.” His large three-dimensional works, while maintaining a playful edge, absorb the viewer into meditative ruminations. Aglow with colour, they are assemblages on a human scale that take an initial attraction and hold it until it becomes an extended philosophic moment. The artist layers light and matter to create experiments in perception and transparency.
As noted in the exhibit’s press release, Youds describes his practice as involving the use of “what can be defined as an abstract vocabulary to explore existential concerns. At the core of this goal is always the desire to cultivate a condition that induces individualized feelings in the mind and body of the beholder.” He finds parallels between his work and paintings and sculptures from the early 20th century, particularly certain futurist works, early protopop art, and other visual expressions rooted in urban life, such as Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks.” Youds writes that in these works he finds “a persistent form of energy that powerfully underscores the almost tangible, yet subjective, urban condition. My most recent structures, both the sculptures and paintings, also share these human states.”
Robert Youds completed his MFA with York University and holds a BFA from UVic. Recent solo shows include: Another Appearance Made Visible in LOLA in London, ON; Time Must Have a Stop (or look out your window) at the Ministry of Casual Living in Victoria; and beautifulbeautiful artificial field at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. Selected group shows include: It is What It Is at the National Gallery of Canada; PAINT: a psychedelic primer at the Vancouver Art Gallery; and The Shape of Colour: Excursions in Colour Field Art 1950-2005, at the Art Gallery of Ontario.
And, until October 29, Youds can also be seen at Winchester Galleries on Humboldt, as part of an exhibit featuring iconic retired UVic Visual Arts professor Mowry Baden.