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Artist Amber Jean Young Memorializes Mother’s Memory Through


When artist amber jean young lost her mother to ovarian cancer, she found a way to process the loss through art. In her exhibition, Pegi’s Garden, she memorializes her mother while raising funds for ovarian cancer research.

Through the combination of photography and quilting, she explores memory by incorporating photographic strips of fabric into her work.

Her Art

In a recent exhibition at Bryant Street Gallery, Young integrated fabric and photography to investigate the connections between place, memory and home in a multi-faceted display. Her interest in quilting stems from its long history in the domestic sphere, and she takes advantage of this by printing photographs she took of her rural Northern California homeland onto fabric. She plays with color, contrast and aspect ratio to create varied versions of the same image.

It was this interdisciplinary art practice that allowed Amber to process her grief in a way that was not only meaningful to her but also meaningful to her mother, the writer and musician Pegi Young, who died of ovarian cancer at age 49 in 2019. Her tribute was an ode to both of them, and she donated a portion of the proceeds from the show to ovarian cancer research. Currently, Amber lives and works in Berkeley, California. She has exhibited at many of the top galleries in the Bay Area and beyond, including the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs, Hashimoto Contemporary in Palo Alto, Ever Gold Gallery in San Francisco, Robert Berman Gallery in Los Angeles, and Bryant Street Gallery in Palo Alto.

Her Life

A California-born artist who grew up on her family’s land in Northern California, Amber Jean Young graduated from Kenyon College with a BA and later studied at the San Francisco Art Institute. She received her Post Baccalaurate and Master of Fine Arts degrees in 2008.

In her quilted work, Young constructs fractured images by reassembling photographic strips of fabric. This practice is a meditation on the incompleteness of personal memories. She restructures her childhood home’s landscape as a series of montages on linen, using her knowledge of photography and quilting to investigate how place and memory are inextricably linked.

In her recent solo exhibition, Pegi’s Garden, she crafted paintings that commemorated her mother and raised funds for ovarian cancer research. Her paintings were displayed at Bryant Street Gallery in Palo Alto, CA from March through April of 2022. She was able to use her creativity to process the loss of her mother, which made it possible for her to move forward with her career.

Her Grief

As a musician, writer and multi-media artist, Amber Jean Young was able to tap into a wellspring of resources to help her deal with her grief. When her mother, Pegi Young (above right) passed away from ovarian cancer in 2019, she turned to painting as a way to process her loss and honor her mother’s memory.

She drew inspiration from her mother’s love of plants and found that the flowers in her paintings represented a metaphor for Pegi’s life. As a result, she dedicated her exhibition, entitled “Pegi’s Garden,” to her mother.

Grief is a universal human experience, one that comes in many forms: the loss of a loved one, a job or a pet. It can be hard to talk about, but it’s an important part of a healthy life.

The following podcasts offer resources, personal stories and coping skills for those who are grieving. They are hosted by mental health professionals and are an excellent resource for anyone who is dealing with loss or trauma.

Her Future

Young has a strong commitment to promoting awareness and education for children with disabilities. She was instrumental in helping her mother Pegi Young found The Bridge School, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping kids with disabilities.

She also teaches art classes for adults. Her work explores themes of location, sorrow and resilience across mediums.

As she dealt with the death of her mother, Young leaned on her creativity and the resources it provides. She tapped into the muse of her childhood, painting. She created a tribute to her mother in the form of an exhibition entitled “Pegi’s Garden” at Bryant Street Gallery.

In addition to her artistic career, Young has continued to tour. In 2011 she played a partial reunion tour with Buffalo Springfield, and in June, Young will release A Treasure, an archival live disc featuring a large collection of material from the early Eighties.

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