Amy M. Youngs is Associate Professor and Co-Area Coordinator of the Art and Technology area of the Department of Art at Ohio State University. She uses electronics, kinetics, insects, plants and pixels to create artwork about the changing relationships between technology, nature and self. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and her essays about art and biology have been published in Leonardo and Nouvel Objet.
She creates biological art, interactive sculptures and digital media works that explore the complex relationship between technology and our changing concept of nature and self. She has exhibited her works nationally and internationally at venues such as the Biennale of Electronic Arts (Perth, Australia), Te Papa Museum (Wellington, New Zeland), John Michael Kohler Arts Center (Sheboygan, Wisconsin), the Tweed Museum (Duluth, MN), Circulo de Bellas Artes (Madrid, Spain), the Visual Arts Museum, Pace Digital Gallery (New York, NY), the Art Institute of Chicago's Betty Rymer Gallery, Vedanta Gallery, Northern Illinois University Art Gallery (Chicago, IL), Blasthaus, (San Francisco, CA) and Works (San Jose, CA).
Her artwork has been reviewed in publications such as, The Chicago Reader, Toronto Star, San Francisco Bay Guardian, RealTime and Artweek. Youngs has published several essays, including one on genetic art in the journal Leonardo and another on art, technology and ecology in the international art publication Nouvel Objet in 2001. Her work was profiled in the recent book, Art in Action, Nature, Creativity & our Collective Future. She has lectured on her work widely, including at Columbia College, (Chicago, IL), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Boston, Massachusetts), the Australian Center For the Moving Image (Melbourne, Australia) and the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN) and has participated in panels at professional conferences such as the Women’s Caucus for the Arts and the College Arts Association. In 2002, Youngs was awarded an Individual Artist Fellowship Grant from the Ohio Arts Council. Youngs received a BA from San Francisco State University, graduating Summa Cum Laude and Art Student Honoree of her class. She was awarded a full Merit Scholarship to study at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she completed her MFA in 1999. Youngs is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Art at The Ohio State University. She was born in 1968 in Chico, California.
Through the intermixing of synthetic, natural, animal and human substances I explore the conflicted relationship our culture has constructed relative to nature. This was originally inspired by a nine-year experiment in selectively breeding my own specialized line of show rabbits. My obsession with the pursuit of the "perfect rabbit" was a way in which I could feel I was affecting the natural world. It was a powerful feeling; however, the fact that I was directly shaping these animals according to a human agenda was disconcerting. Selective breeding requires the "non-selection" of many animals. I quit the rabbit-breeding project long ago, but my interest in the desire to experience an idealized version of nature by technologically controlling it remains. My work engages viewers in a visual, tactile and auditory realm, to elicit a dialogue regarding the relationship between technology and our changing concept of nature and self. I am interested in the way that our increasingly enhanced and extended human capabilities allow us to perceive the world in micro and macro modes, explore it more thoroughly and even make attempts to remedy past ecological errors. That technology can simultaneously ruin, reveal, reinvent and repair nature is a paradox I investigate in my work.
– amy m. youngs