Part of a series, this drawing mimics divination through the casting of bones. When exploring Richmond, Virginia, the artist learned of a train tunnel construction project in the 1900s. Engineered to avoid diverting train tracks around the city by passing through a hill, the tunnel collapsed in the midst of its construction. The workers on the project were trapped. The details of the story vary from person to person—some said there were three or four workers, all Black men; others said an entire segregated Black train car was stuck in the tunnel. The city was unable to rescue those trapped within; they sealed the tunnel, creating a grave. To create this drawing series, the artist used dirt he collected from the site of the collapsed tunnel. For Young, using this material evokes a process of disappearing—a void or the loss of identity between two names and places.
Bones are a recurring motif in the artist's work. For Young, they often evoke a family story about his great-grandfather migrating from the South to the North in the early 1900s. This drawing depicts horse bones, echoing the animal that carried the artist's ancestor on his journey—a translation of a family myth through the artist's own experience, body and memory.
Nate Young’s meticulously hand-crafted multimedia works engage with issues of race and racialization while challenging traditional modes of artistic production. He explores theological themes, especially the systems and objects that shape our beliefs, through found text, diagrams and architectural elements. Young strips away all specific content from these sources, leaving a universal lexicon of primordial signs that strongly suggest meaning without conveying it—a profound void, at once empty and full.
Nate Young was born in 1981. In 2009, Young received a Master of Fine Arts from the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California. That same year, he completed a residency at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Skowhegan, Maine. He received a BA in Visual Arts Education from Northwestern College in Saint Paul, Minnesota in 2004.
Solo and two-person exhibitions of Young’s work include: Tale of Tomorrow: Nate Young and Mika Horibuchi at the Driehaus Museum in Chicago, Illinois (2020-21); The Transcendence of Time at Monique Meloche in Chicago, Illinois (2020); ...WELL! at Julius Caesar in Chicago, Illinois (2019); Cleromancy at Monique Meloche in Chicago, Illinois (2017); re:collection at VisArts in Richmond, Virginia (2017); Stations at Luce Gallery in Turin, Italy (2016); The Unseen Evidence of Things Substantiated at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (2015); and But not yet: in the spirit of linguistics at Monique Meloche in Chicago, Illinois (2015).
Group exhibitions that have shown Young’s work include: Otherwise/Revival at Bridge Projects in Los Angeles, California (2021); FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial of Contemporary Art in Ohio (2018); Four Saints in Three Acts at DePaul Art Museum in Chicago, Illinois (2017); Chicago Invites Chicago at Galerie Lelong in New York City (2016); Retreat, curated by Theaster Gates, at Richard Gray Gallery in Chicago, Illinois (2014); Tony Lewis and Nate Young at Room East in New York City (2014); the Soap Factory’s Minnesota Biennial in Minneapolis, Minnesota (2013); Fore at the Studio Museum in Harlem in New York City (2012); and Go Tell It on the Mountain at the California African American Museum in Los Angeles, California (2012).
Young was a 2015 Artist-in-Residence at The Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was the recipient of The Shifting Foundation Grant in 2020; the Knight Arts Challenge Fellowship from the Knight Foundation in 2014; the Jerome Fellowship for Emerging Artists in 2014; and the Bush Fellowship for Visual Artists in 2010. In 2021, Young was named the recipient of The Joyce Foundation Artadia Award.
Young’s work is in notable collections, including: the Milwaukee Art Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota; the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.; the Mott Warsh Collection in Flint, Michigan; and the Fabric Workshop Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Young is co-founder and director of the artist-run exhibition space The Bindery Projects in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is Assistant Professor of Studio Arts at the University of Illinois Chicago.
Nate Young lives and works in Chicago, Illinois.
Part of a series, this drawing mimics divination through the casting of bones. To create this work, the artist used dirt he collected from the site of a collapsed tunnel in Richmond, Virginia—while also evoking his own family's history of migration.More
- Framed: 48.0 x 35.5 x 2.0 in.