Alan Young, Rosny Schoolhouse Gallery, Rosny Hill Road.

If you look at one of Alan Young's paintings in the collection, which grew out of his residency at the Clarence Jazz Festival in 2020, you'll see an ant wearing some shoes. This is a gag, but it's also an indication of Young's approach to art and making art—he mixes ideas, approaches formal strategies and comedy.

That approach is the palette he uses as an artist or more correctly, one of his palettes he's got a few at his disposal, and he moves between them quite nimbly, Young can make a funny image of ants then in a different work, he can create an imagined aerial view of the entire Rosny Farm space shifting perspective, focus and tone from the minuscule to the large, from the ground to floating in the air, and from wacky comedy to a more considered representation of space.

Young can do this with ease because Young is a remarkably good artist. He has terrific formal distinctiveness—his works could be understood as using the strategies of abstraction in order to be realised, where the concerns of the painting are not so much what they portray as how they are made—which was one of the greatest shifts ever in which art even is and how we understand it. You could view Young's images of the Rosny Farm as abstracts and they sort of work as such—except these are not abstracts and Young isn't an abstract artist. He paints from life and paints things and people he likes, or finds eye catching or even just amusing for some reason.

I'd suggest that Young has extraordinary formal rigour, with a powerful understanding of the painterly—he loves colour and uses it in an exciting way and he knows how he wants to put paint onto a canvas.

But it also does Young disservice in some ways to get too academic with his work—although you can certainly do that. It's just that you really don't want to miss how funny, loose and exuberant his art can be—you don't want to miss that the ant is wearing shoes, or that if you watch people at a jazz festival, you're going to see some amusing sights, because people are quite funny or some seagulls being buffeted about by the wind. Because the world is full of details and those fleeting moments, are the little poetic fragments of life and Young is just as great at noticing and capturing those he is with using colour.

Young makes serious work that hides its very serious devotion to painting under a layer of fun, and it's this that makes his work so satisfying, Young can create an image of a bat tussling in the sky, name the bat Barry and make and make the image that's hilarious, while also being aesthetically striking. Young is always terrific, and this show is no exception, make sure you see it.

— Andrew Harper, Hobart Mercury.