Any art show where the promotional image includes the words “light of my life/ go fuck yourself” in neon pink is one I have to go see. Upon viewing Denver-based artist Scott Young’s “Gas Light Love Bomb” solo exhibition at the newly opened K Contemporary in Denver, I can say now that it did not disappoint.
Filled with more pink neon, word play, social commentary, and unexpected materials like fur and rocks, the show is a sexy, dynamic take on modern romance in the digital age. Young’s exploration of love, texting and Tindr inspires the viewer to consider whether our use of technology encourages or destroys romance.
Much of the work uses evocative, contradictory, or ironic phrases together in one work, at once funny and sad. In the piece “Beautiful Life,” the “f” in neon lights fizzes out occasionally, while in “Maybe Go Fuck Yourself,” the protagonist scribbles out “maybe” in neon red lights. In both works, one goes back and forth between two possibilities of conversation, wondering what truly transpired between the lovers.
Color- especially the colors pink and red- play an outsize role in this series of work and add to the sensation and tension in each piece. The words “I desire nothing more” in pale pink neon lights is surrounded by a wall of white Tibetan wool, bright pink paint exploding onto the wall around the piece. Pink is a powerful color on its own, with so many cultural implications (which I write about here), but in Young’s work, perhaps because it is in the form of physical light and neon acrylic paint, the hue is sensuous and fresh. Red works in a similar way, but is more evocative of “love gone bad”- it only shows up against black.
K Contemporary is a new gallery in Denver, with a lineup of striking exhibitions going forward. This exhibition is an exciting opening for a new voice in the Denver visual arts scene. Up through December 2, 2017, the gallery is located at 1412 Wazee Street in LoDo. For more info, go to http://kcontemporaryart.com/.
Julia Rymer is an abstract painter and writer based in Colorado, where she creates work inspired by nature, science, and color theory. Learn more at juliarymer.com.