April Young is an established British sculptor producing expressive, figurative pieces in a variety of materials from clay to foundry bronze. Movement and the natural world, in particular sensitive, yet unsentimental animal studies are a strong feature in the work. Her concepts are often enriched by her love of literature, folklore and mythology.
April has been commissioned to work in a number of materials and to various scales from small works for giftware (mass production) for Border Fine Arts, to life-sized bronze figures as a corporate commission for Morgan Stanley.
As well as being held in private collections in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Holland, the United States and New Zealand, her work has gallery representation throughout England, Scotland and Ireland, including at major regional Art Fairs such as AAF London, Art Ireland and Glasgow Art Fair each year.
April has participated in many mixed exhibitions including at the Royal Academy in Bristol. Her sculptural work was most recently selected for the ‘Handmade in Britain’ Show along with eight other artists at the British Embassy in India.
Where it all began
When she was growing up, like many young girls, April Young was captivated by horses. Unlike most though, her yearning to have one reached obsessive levels, peaking at the low point of her parents’ divorce, when he family split and she moved with her mother and sister into a council flat. After spending some time gazing through the net curtains and playing on the nearby waste ground where some gypsy horses were tethered, she was moved, at the age of 11, to visit the Town Planning section of the local council, to attempt to investigate how this worked. She identified the owners of the plot of wasteland as Steetly, a local quarry, to whom she offered a modest amount of pocket money to keep a horse. Having been laughed out of the manager’s portocabin, yet still undeterred, she found a local ad for a ‘pony on loan.’ And so it was that on a Sunday afternoon, a large horse transporter pulled up in a council estate and unloaded a flesh and blood horse, much to the delight of a pre-adolescent child, for an all too brief episode of extreme wish fulfilment.
In order to explore these themes of adolescence, turmoil and aspiration, Young chose the Carousel. Throughout this body of work, the complexity of those anxious formative years works itself into layers which seem to become increasingly complex and elaborate, mirroring the twists and turns of a developing mindset. Aesthetic tension arises from juxtapositioning the elements of strength and fragility that come with formative phases of life, whether in adolescence or beyond. As an icon, the Carousel horse, whilst at the same time promising freedom with its cheerful abandon, is perpetually following the ups and downs, the stop-start circular motion of a life which is often externally controlled, just as the Carousel, by the push of a button.
Look closely at the surface of the horses, and you will see the council flats, and the partly formed, or possibly partly disintegrating, elaborate armour of identity. Images play with the contrast between high and low status, without judging either. The domestic interior of the council flat is imprinted in the surfaces with the lacy net curtain, a nostalgic interface between internal and external worlds