Daisy YoungbloodSeptember 7 - October, 1996
Although she works largely outside of the mainstream art world, Daisy Youngblood is a sculptor of distinct and powerful effect. Her figurative creatures, which often share human and animal qualities, trigger questions about the relation of our physical selves and our inner lives, questions which are entirely unspecific about time or place.
When Youngblood first began working in the late 1970s, she dug her own clay and baked it in open fire pits. These early pieces were full of splits and fissures that resulted from the type of clay and the unregulated firing, circumstances that the artist appreciated on the level of unpredictability. In recent years, she has been using a wood-fired or electric kiln for the firing and creates the final patination of most of her pieces by immersing them in a smoking pile of sawdust or leaves. The rough-hewn texture, serendipitously achieved by this process, acts as a complementary contradiction to the knowing delicacy shown in executing the work's form.
A principal feature of Youngblood's works is their fragmentation--not one is naturalistically complete. As the artist explains, "These sculptures are usually without arms and legs simply because I am focusing on the torso-head relationship and thinking of the way the person breathes." The focused, yet unforced, concentration that Youngblood gives to the respective piece--sometimes working for up to two years on one--is visually evident in the curious blend of restraint and earthiness that it exudes. Contributing to this sense of self-possession is the small scale of the majority of works, the effect of which condenses the expressed emotions and possible meanings with unexpected authority.
Daisy Youngblood was born in 1945 in Ashville, North Carolina and attended Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond from 1963 to 1966. She began exhibiting her work in 1979 and has participated in numerous group exhibitions since then. Examples of her work were recently included in A Labor of Love, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (1996) and Next of Kin: Looking at the Great Apes, List Visual Arts Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge (1995). In 1992 Beaver College Art Gallery, Glenside, Pennsylvania, organized Youngblood's first survey exhibition.