'Pegi's Garden' exhibit offers a colorful, personal tribute

Heather Zimmerman, Palo Alto Weekly, March 17, 2022

A bright new garden has sprung up inside Bryant Street Gallery, filling the downtown Palo Alto gallery with colorful blooms and verdant leaves. "Pegi's Garden," which opens Thursday, March 17, features floral and garden-themed paintings by Amber Jean Young.

The exhibit pays tribute to Young's mother, Pegi, who died of ovarian cancer in 2019.

"The works weave together playful and saturated renditions of plants with patterns derived from textiles and the artist’s quilting experience," according to a press release about the show. The colorful pieces reflect Pegi Young's penchant for mixing and matching patterns in her home; the plants captured in the paintings recall the plants inherited from her. But more than that, the bright pieces tap into ideas of healing and resilience that the artist learned from her mother, the press release said.

Pegi Young, a singer-songwriter and disability activist, might be best known locally as a co-founder of The Bridge School in Hillsborough. She helped establish the school to meet the needs of her son, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. For 30 years, Young raised funds for the school through the annual Bridge School Benefit Concert, organized together with her then-husband Neil Young.

Amber Jean Young is an interdisciplinary artist who grew up near Woodside and is now based in Berkeley. Her paintings, textiles and sculpture delve into themes such as home, loss, grief and resilience, and nature plays a prevalent role in her works as well. In a 2015 interview with Venison Magazine, she discussed how growing up on a ranch in Kings Mountain shaped her work and its emphasis on natural images and themes of home.

"Pegi's Garden" runs through April 30, with an opening reception on Saturday, March 26 from 3 to 6 p.m. A portion of the show's proceeds will be donated to Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance.

Bryant Street Gallery is located at 532 Bryant St., Palo Alto. For more information, visit bryantstreet.com.