“Youds’ insistence on theory as experience is refreshing. Equally so is his resulting desire to keep his work visually urgent and emotionally insistent – fuelled, but not scuttled by theoretical ideas. Youds’ conviction that the viewer’s subjectivity should not be complicated – that is encumbered, by art theory is everywhere in evidence in this exuberant exhibition...The rest of the show is equally joyfully intense. – Gary Michael Dault, Globe and Mail, May 23, 2009 (Jesus Green Tofino Sunset, Diaz Contemporary, Toronto, ON) Read article...
“Youds’ Thread Paintings call to mind the linear figures sculpted by Alberto Giacometti.” – Lawrence Rinder, Director California College of Arts and Crafts, 1999 (twistfoldlayerflake, CCAC Oakland, CA, 1999)
“This inventive, unconventional West Coast artist makes a welcome return to Toronto…the overall confidence and clarity of these smart, sexy pieces…” – The Globe and Mail, 1998 (Sable Castelli Gallery, 1998)
“Youds’ clever abstractions…these stripped-bare paintings compel viewers to pay close attention…”
– David Pagel, Los Angeles Times, 1997 (Post Gallery, Los Angeles) Read article...
“Youds is always inventive and open: This show revels his project as something intelligent and developing.” – The Globe and Mail, 1995 (Forse Che Si, Forse Che No), Power Plant, Toronto, 1995)
“Robert Youds has conducted a fifteen year flirtation with the premises of modernist painting, engaging it at many levels but not settling on one performance which would foreclose on future possibilities. The pleasure of his engagement is evident in these paintings whose very subject is the distance between desire and its extinction in understanding.” –Willard Holmes, 1994 ((Forse Che Si, Forse Che No, Charles H. Scott Gallery, 1994)
“Underlying all of Youds’ work is an acknowledgment of the transient nature of meaning. He has said that he is not so much interested in hard truth, but the tease of truth, the pursuit of truth. Finally, it is the propositions and questions posed that engage us and are the works greatest value.” Greg Bellerby, Charles H. Scott Gallery, Vancouver, 1994 (Forse Che Si, Forse Che No, Charles H. Scott Gallery, 1994)
“Youds’ barbs are smart and on the mark…ever so cool, much cooler in fact than the high-minded modernism they comment on.” – The Globe and Mail, 1992, Sable Castelli Gallery, 1992
“Robert Youds’ summer exhibition is a dream…Youds drafts a new chapter in his already dramatically varied output…Youds’ stylistic shifts are not so much a case of indecision as they are registers of his desire to constantly traverse, and re-traverse, the visual path. In this, he is truly an artist for his times. – Ihor Holubitsky, Canadian Art, 1992, Sable Castelli Gallery, Toronto, 1992
“More successfully than any other Toronto artist I know of, Youds has created the deflated, chic, remorselessly machined look…a kind of cool-handed cultural criticism – perhaps even a mode of social realism – a country mile away from Neo-expressionism’s painterly theatrics and psychodrama. Youds has been working towards this show for years and, with it, he appears to have hit his creative stride. He has also found his arena of action in this interesting, smart and smart aleck kind of art-making which seems to be settling in for an extended stay in the international limelight.” – John Bentley Mays, Globe and Mail, 1991 (More, Mercer Union, 1987)
“The whole show can be seen as a trek into image-captivity...There’s no freedom in abstraction here, just activity and concentric, almost formal, celebration…a good fix on the nitty-gritty.” – C Magazine, 1987 (More, Mercer Union Gallery, 1987)
“Like the masters of the major art movements…the paintings of Youds are concentrated on dark areas, representing former formulae for magic and fantasy …there is a kind of savage power that is evoked by the reference to primitivism and it is demonstrated by the work of Youds’ perceptual puzzles in depth and texture.” C Magazine, 1985, Grunwald Gallery, Toronto, 1983)
“The work is solidly formal and the forms are inscribed precisely in space. For Youds the alchemy of painting is an ongoing process, and, as with alchemy, the elements of painting cannot really be changed. Representation, abstraction, theory, craft and material may go in and out of fashion, but they do not cease to be relevant. Youds reminds us that we are animals: the visceral, and the precious, can have an important place in art. Painting need not be exclusively at the service of the mind. – Vanguard Magazine, 1983 (we are animals, we come from nature, Grunwald Gallery, Toronto, 1983)
“Youds’ paintings break out of the repetition of social signs and present an image of the free productivity of visuality. The swirling colors explode their social context. A brightly lit eruption of paint, these paintings demonstrate that images are merely artefactual and we can recreate and redirect the image-making process which makes our paper lifestyle…These paintings take our eyes and push them to the limit, infinitely.” – Vanguard Magazine, 1983 (Paper Lifestyle, Glendon Gallery, Toronto, 1983) Read article...
“the punk pyrotechnics of Robert Youds’ enormous Willful Damage…Youds is refining ideas about color and form which have evolved over the past 25 years, and have completely changed artists’ conceptions of what painting, and art, can be.” – The Vancouver Sun, 1979 (Affinities, Ten Painters of this Region, VAG)