Nate Young works across media in a manner that challenges traditional modes of artistic production, creating work that engage with issues of race and racialization. He explores the systems and objects that impact one’s beliefs. Often in his work, Young address theological themes through text, diagrams, or architectural elements. Young strips away any specific content, however, leaving behind a universal lexicon of primordial signs and symbols–arrows, circles, grids, and negative spaces–that strongly suggest meaning without in fact conveying it; a profound void, at once empty and full, that invites the viewer’s activation. His works contain a quiet gravitas and austerity at odds with their meticulously hand-crafted nature, prompting a post-minimalist interrogation of authority, material, and the artist’s hand.
Young (b.1981, Phoenixville, PA) lives and works in Chicago, IL. He received his MFA from the California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA (2009) and BA in Visual Arts Education from Northwestern College, St. Paul, MN (2004). Young attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (2009) and was invited back as Dean in 2015. He is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Art, School of Art & Art History at the University of Illinois Chicago, Chicago, IL (2016-present). Young’s work has been shown in selected solo and group exhibitions at the Harwood Museum of Art, Taos, NM (2022); Lubeznik Center for the Arts, Michigan City, IN (2022); moniquemeloche, Chicago, IL (2022); Bridge Projects, Los Angeles, CA (2021); Museum of Contemporary Arts, Chicago, IL (2021); De Pree Art Gallery, Holland, MI (2020); The Driehaus Museum, Chicago, IL (2020); Front Triennial at the Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland, OH (2018); Visual Arts Center, Richmond Virginia (2017); and The Studio Museum, Harlem, NY (2012). In 2021, Young received the Joyce Foundation Artadia Award, Chicago, IL.
Young’s work is featured in the permanent collections of DePaul Art Museum, Chicago, IL; Fabric Workshop Museum, Philadelphia, PA; Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, D.C, and the Mott Warsh Collection, Flint, MI.