Within A Given Space: A Review of Terry Young’s “We Found Love”

Kristina Bivona (2017)

    Left to right: A minimal black frame with yellow text behind glass, a white frame with blue text behind glass, a blank space on the wall (with just enough room for another frame), and lastly, a dark brown frame with red text under glass. On your right, separate but relative, two laminated sheets of color text, on basic-ass-white-paper pinned to raw plywood, approximately twenty-two by fifteen inches. I give a simple description for the simple approach, a series of related works that, from a distance and without further inspection, the viewer may be left here, confused and unaided or simply uninterested. Also, do not look to the title tags for help. By using a long and convoluted URL, they illuminate little, but instead send the work from their sterile placement into the infinite void that is the internet.

    It is this distance of accessibility and the determination for comprehension that a viewer will be faced with throughout the http://terryyoung.org/wefoundlove/selected_texts/series. As the series offers immediate reference to tools of diagnostic authority, classifications of terms of abuse, as well as a desensitized popular culture reference, it does not lend itself to guidance. Therefore, one does best viewing Terry Young’s http://terryyoung.org/wefoundlove/selected_texts/with a taste for chewing on the dry cud of text. However, if found with a potential disinterest with the text based art, one may be left with a weak understanding of an otherwise complex, and slightly bitter series.

    Many of the condescending realities of the series are found in its subtleties. It goes like this, the text in the first three framed works are either offset or cut off by the white three-inch mat board. You cannot read all of the text. Then, the nearly handwritten text is actually a generated font, and although the language reads as very close to informative material, it is in fact, filtered through the artist, leaving tone and voice lingering with each passing “read”.  The subject matter of each piece, with clearly denoted separation by use of color, is connected unilaterally by the repetition of the font, quietly but harshly regurgitating the language and terms of abuse.

            After a few minutes with the work I am enraged. There is the softness of shame, like a raw nerve afflicted and exposed, yet, there is a contempt in the mild tone, the nurturing “baby birding” of harsh information. I connect with the information put forward, but I first acknowledge that it was filtered through the technical channels of the systems of treatment. Once the information was gleaned from its source it is funneled to the viewer, but not without the artist’s tone of sympathy, which is padded with indifference. Next, the “otherness” sets in and I am contemplating the lighting in the welfare office, the apathy of my social worker, and the piece of gum in my mouth, stiffened from overuse, but the only thing whetting my churning stomach.

    I am pissed, there is no fixing this; the harsh government building lights bleaching out all these words Terry Young put on the wall. Finally, I recall that Tina Turner had crazy hair, and sadly I draw on that before I recall that she was in love with a violent man. I wonder where my role is in all this? I and am simultaneously and vigorously engaged. It is the multi-faceted and fucked up challenge that I devour in this work. Yet I must say Terry, there is one problem, some people do not “like” to read.