Jeannine Young | All in Good Time

By Wolf Schneider

Le Jeune Femme bronze 44 x 19 x 8
Le Jeune Femme bronze 44 x 19 x 8

Sculptor Jeannine Young trusts that things come to pass when they are meant to. “Doors have opened for me when I’ve needed them to,” she says. “I’ve met key people along the way when it’s been a good time to meet them. I feel like I’m going down the road I’m supposed to be going down. I try to be patient and tell myself, ‘Things will happen when I’m ready.’”

Young certainly is patient when she’s sculpting, too: She spends four to six months on each piece. The 52-year-old Utah artist is known primarily for her elegant, elongated female forms that eschew detailed faces. Her pieces have defined planes and sharp angles. Young, who lives in Salt Lake City, says she is influenced by the angles of light and shadow that fall on the nearby Wasatch Mountains. Of her stretched-out signature style, she explains: “It’s eye-catchy, it’s fun to look at, and it creates a tension and a balance. If they’re tall and thin, I can move them around. They don’t take up a lot of room, but they have a presence. There’s an elegance in something long and thin and willowy.”

Young’s work incorporates the clean lines of art deco and the pared-down essentials of modernism. Her female sculptures, which are primarily made of welded steel and then cast in bronze, stand from a foot to 6 feet in height. Graceful and ultra-feminine, they often wear large hats and tend to evoke a particular universal emotion, such as reflection or joy. “I think women are fabulous. They’re strong and resilient and graceful and beautiful, and the curves are pleasing visually,” she declares.

Young also sculpts animals, such as cats or roosters or the aptly named sentry, a 40-inch-tall llama with an elongated neck and symmetrical legs. The piece was inspired by a herd of llamas that she used to drive by in central Utah. “Llamas have this arrogance about them. They just have that attitude. You know, they’re used as watchdogs in some places. So he’s watching.” She admits that sentry is one of her favorites.

As she does with most of her sculptures, Young cast sentry in a limited edition of 25. It is covered with a golden-red marbled patina that’s typical of the unusual patinas she prefers. Her piece sophisticated, a female figure, at first glance appears to be carved of turquoise, but it is actually made of bronze covered with a copper nitrate patina.

Her pieces often seem to recall the work of Alberto Giacometti, the 18th-century surrealist sculptor known for his elongated vertical scale…

Featured in August 2007

Find the rest of this exciting article and more
by subscribing to Southwest Art magazine.