"What though the radiance that was once so bright, be now forever taken from my sight. Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower; We will grieve not, rather find strength in what remains behind."
Written in Century Standard Bold - the negative space of these prophetic letters peering out from a 23" x 29" sea of dense black ballpoint ink, are from the 19th century poet William Wordsworth's Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood – a poem that artist Liz Young immortalized in Splendor in the Grass, a drawing from 2018. Liz Young, an extraordinary artist and the kind of person who stays in our hearts forever, died on December 22, 2020--- but as in the poem, not for grieving but for finding strength in what she left behind.
After a rather short battle with cancer, she died peacefully with a dear friend holding her hand; knowing that she was deeply loved by her friends, peers, students, and colleagues as well as by her immediate family -- her two sisters, Nancy Walker and Katie Young and her brother, Malcolm Young. She will be remembered as a doting aunt to Elliot and Harriet Rose, and to Molly, Woody and Will Walker. Liz was also a devoted teacher and co-chair of the Visual Arts Department at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, where she taught for twenty years.
Liz Young will be remembered and revered as a dynamic Los Angeles based artist, where she lived and worked since 1981; known for diverse work investigating body and nature-focused themes, such as loss, beauty, the inevitability of decay, and the fragility of life. She has produced sculpture, installation, performance, painting, drawing and video incorporating fabricated and re-contextualized found objects, organic materials, and processes from industrial metalworking to handicrafts, taxidermy and traditional art practices. She has exhibited throughout the United States and Europe including solo shows at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) where her work is in the permanent collection, the Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), as well as in a multitude of alternative spaces throughout the U.S. In 2016, Young received a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship; she has also been recognized with awards from the Getty Trust and the Andy Warhol Foundation, among others.
Liz Young left us with many lessons that she taught by example: to always move forward with a positive attitude, that relationships are built on trust and truth, and that anything and everything is possible if you embody it. Liz took a lot of chances – she was fearless in her art as she was in her life, but no matter what, she taught us that hard work and determination breeds success in all things.
These are final words of Wordsworth's poem:
Thanks to the human heart by which we live,
Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,
To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.
You can learn more about Liz Young: https://www.lizyoungproduce.com https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liz_Young