Youth culture an interesting concept; we revere it by saying culture, but in the next breath we revile it. Do we long for it, in all its rose-tinted glory, or fear it as an unknown, restless and angry quantity?
There is an inescapable but dark quality to the idea of youth: we love it, cannot be without it, but it stalks our ordered selves, watching, knowing and gloating. If you subscribe to the view of when I was young it was all different, you should look at this exhibition.
If your poison however is the youth of today, then embrace its continuing counter-culture, energy, anger and militancy represented by the contemporary movement. This exhibition brings together elements of the yesterday and tomorrow of humanity. It makes an interesting juxtaposition; mature artists retrospection of youth bound together with young artist’s vision of themselves and the world as they see it now. Together these artists show a perspective which is often lost in generalisations.
Harold Eldridge leads traditional views of what was; his innocent and beautiful depiction of Penny for the Guy is surely the epitome of everything innocent about adolescence. Running in this same vein are artists such as John Christoforou, Bernard Meninsky, John Bratby, Patrick Proktor, Sarah Lederman and Stanley Lewis. As a counter balance to these is a grungier, deliberately toughened view by the youth of todays experience.
Andrew Salgado leads the way in both respects; romanticism to a point but underscored with rebellion, frenetic energy and passion. Sharon McPhee, Azadeh Fatehrad, Jenny Evans and sculptor Neil Hedger enhance a line up which cuts across modern painting and sculpture to produce a vision of ourselves which in some cases uncomfortable, is more often than not, utterly true.
Every young person, like every artist, strives against what has gone before in the effort to create a newer, brighter, more liberated present. Whether traditional or contemporary in approach this contribution is invaluable, history will judge if it is good.