Pop artist Russell Young is enjoying his debut exhibition, Superstar, at the Halcyon Gallery in London, which opened yesterday.
Young, born in 1959 is originally from York. He studied photography and graphic design at Chester Art College, and later at Exeter Art College. He first made his mark back in the late 1970’s, photographing the live shows of The Smiths, Bauhaus and R.E.M. He would go on to photograph Morrissey, Bob Dylan, New Order and Bjork among many others – including George Michael for the infamous cover of ‘Faith’. It wasn’t until 2000, at the age of 40, Young moved to New York and decided to concentrate solely on art.
Young is best known for his pop art, enamel screen-prints on linen. Like Andy Warhol, a fellow master of the screen-print, his works often explore the ideas of the modern holy trinity: celebrity, rock n roll and death. ‘Superstar’ focuses on the visual nature of fame and celebrity. Young’s aim being, according to the press release “to attempt to define the essence of what truly makes a ‘superstar’”. In this exhibition Young focuses on the two most iconic faces in popular culture: Marilyn Monroe and Kate Moss.
With Moss, Young “embellishes and expands” on a series of outtakes from a famous (and controversial) photograph of the 16 year old Moss, in suspenders with a teddy, by British photographer Kate Garner. Garner took these images at the beginning of Moss’s career, and to the images of this very important beginning, Young has added diamond dust.
The main angle of the exhibition is to explore “the fragile nature of celebrity and its impact on both society at large and our shared internal psyche.” Young does this with his Marilyn portraits in platinum and ‘California gold’; one, aptly titled ‘Marilyn Crying’, which gives a glimpse into the very human fragility of a seemingly untouchable superstar.
Definitely worth a look-see.