FRANK YOUNG REMEMBERED
In my beautiful, light-filled, upstairs office at Hyde House opposite the two walls of wrap-around windows there’s another wall displaying more than one hundred invitation postcard images—one for every artCentral exhibition staged over the last fourteen years. This pictorial collection is an impressive history of the talents that have graced our spacious galleries through many seasons.
Plein air artist extraordinaire, Frank Young, too, has gone away. He passed from our presence on August 8th surrounded by Amy Fret, his wife of four years, and by members of his family. The community of artCentral artists is deeply saddened by his departure. He is truly missed. We send our love and caring to Amy and to all of Frank’s family.
Frank was special among artists. He was special among all human beings. To be in his presence was a privilege. When Joplin artist, Andrew Batcheller, learned of Frank’s passing, he immediately texted me, “I’m so glad you introduced us. Frank was the kindest man I ever met.”
In 2015, new to my position as executive director-curator of artCentral, Frank’s “Seen and Unseen” was the first solo exhibition I had the great joy of curating in the galleries of Hyde House. What a pleasure to plan the presentation with Frank and Amy!
I was inspired by their ease of communication with each other and with me. I was delighted by their compatibility. The two were still radiantly glowing in their first months of finding true love in their relationship. Amy so completely knew all the paintings and titles in Frank’s œuvre, she seemed to have been with him since the making of his first creation.
The artist statement and biography accompanying Frank’s paintings beautifully told Frank’s story behind his “Seen and Unseen” exhibition. Born in Manhattan, Kansas, Frank’s parents raised him there with his two sisters, Macey and Susan. His mother was an important influence in leading him in the direction of his art. He entered Kansas City Art Institute in 1964, graduating in 1968 with a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree. He then attended the University of Cincinnati from 1968 to 1970 attaining his Masters of Fine Arts degree.
Following graduation, Frank worked in graphics at Western Auto in Kansas City, as well as at WDAF Channel 4 TV. In 1976 he moved to Champaign, Illinois, where he was an instructor at the Parkland Community College. In 1980 he began working for the Department of Army in Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, transferring in 1983 to Fort Lee, Virginia, where he worked for thirty years, retiring in 2006. From his retirement until his death, Frank enjoyed his painting on a full time basis.
Using a camera, Frank captured photographs with themes in all kinds of places, then created environments for their use. In most of his paintings he used figures. The images are not photo realistic: he used them as jumping off points for his painting technique of broad brush strokes of color and value.
Frank enjoyed painting large because he felt more free to paint boldly, and he thought viewers could relate to the scale more easily. When he painted smaller he tended to detail and tighten his techniques and lose the broad stroke brushiness he so enjoyed.
Frank’s palette, limited to seven colors and white, consisted of a cool and warm combination of primary and secondary colors. He got more pleasure from mixing colors rather than just pulling them from tubes. As with many impressionists, he didn’t use black because black’s not naturally found in nature.
Like the absentee gardener missing from the setting of his “Break Time” painting, Frank Young has left his tools behind. His canvases and paints and brushes—once animated by his sure, bold strokes—are sitting still now, abandoned like the gardener’s. Though we’re feeling the loss of our inspiring artist friend, Frank Young, we are grateful to be blessed with the paintings he leaves made with the well-used tools of his trade.
“Colors of Autumn” presented by the Four State Photography Enthusiasts and generously underwritten by The Country Caboose Wedding Chapel and Railroad Museum and The Print House Fine Art continues view through September 23, 2018, during weekend gallery hours. Do visit this spectacular, exciting exhibition! For more information call (417) 358-4404.