Zoe Young (b.1978) is a painter whose practice focusses on still life, portraiture, and abstraction. Young’s work transforms everyday settings and objects in to idyllic and evocative scenes enticing the viewer in to stay. Early years travelling rurally and internationally as the youngest of four children meant Young grew up exploring the nuances of different cultures from an early age. Her family were pioneers of European hospitality, opening various hotels and cafes around Australia. Zoe spent most of her childhood in the ski lodge designed by renowned architect Glenn Murcutt on the border of the Kosciusko National Park.
Young's compositions hold a unique emotional depth, evoking nostalgia and connecting individual stories with broader human emotions. Her artistic journey exemplifies a fusion of skill, emotion, and storytelling that leaves an indelible mark on the canvas of contemporary art. With a portfolio rich in diverse subjects, Young has won the prestigious Portia Geach Prize, the Mosman Art Prize Margaret Olley Award and the Calleen Art Award. She has been a finalist in the Archibald Prize 2014, 2016 and 2023, the National Portrait Gallery’s Darling Art Prize 2020, and the Art Gallery of New South Wales Sulman Prize 2019.
Young's artistic process centres around collecting souvenirs from the creative journeys she embarks on in her studio. Between writing scripts for plays she does not plan on directing, or creating menus for her imaginary restaurant, Young’s studio becomes a place of freedom and play. Her colourful upbringing, as well as her friends and family who frequent her studio, entwines with her work. Once the stage is set for a concept, Young applies paint to her canvas from a sculptural perspective: carving out planes with expressive strokes.
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