WHAT: New Exhibition:
Strategic Dysfunction: Parables of Fabrication
Narrative Sculpture by Amy Youngs and Amy Toscani
WHERE: Tweed Museum of Art, University of Minnesota Duluth
WHEN: April 12 - July 24, 2005
Events: Artists' gallery talks and receptions with Amy Toscani, 6:30pm, April 12;
Amy Youngs, 6:30pm, April 19
A new exhibition at the Tweed Museum of Art, UMD, features sculptures by Amy Toscani of Minneapolis and Amy Youngs of Columbus, Ohio. Both artists will visit Duluth to give presentations about their work. Amy Toscani will present 6:30PM on April 12, and Amy Youngs 6:30PM on April 19. Both lectures are free and open to the public.
Amy Toscani's large-scale constructions allude to toys, appliances and industrial machinery particularly due to their surface designs that are reminiscent of images from the artist's 1960s childhood. Of note, and standing at nearly 12', is Toscani's Lumpkin (2002), a monumental sculpture that appears as a funky, candy colored, hand-crafted UFO, clad with shaped and riveted TV trays; Hover (2004) has the appearance of a futuristic vehicle; Hinterland (2004) a carnival ride. The outsized toy-like sculptures present themselves as somewhat out of place and time, from an outscale, absurd and darkly smiling vision.
Amy Youngs' sculptures attempt to unseat the authority of modern technology. Her vision is post-apocalyptic; in many cases her dark vision of technology appears as an after effect of an already concluded act of technological intervention. The artist offers the audience interactive frameworks that illustrate negative relationships between technology and nature. Ultimately, the viewer is set up to fear the consequence of their own powerlessness in the face of an all-over industrial momentum. When viewers approach Rearming the Spineless Opuntia, (1999) for example, a sensor triggers a spiny shell to cover a cactus, which was genetically engineered to grow without its naturally protective spines. Intraterestrial Soundings (2004) uses infrared video and a series of microphones and speakers to allow us to hear and see the workings of thousands of composting worms busy at work, underneath a bench viewers are invited to lay on.
The work of both artists hinges on narrative references: Toscani's re-presentation of the look of 50s-60s design and decoration; and Youngs' implied futurism, an inherited technology-laden world of nature, fully mediated by electronics.
For both artists, significant influences in their thinking came from the experience of working as fabricators and model makers for science and nature museums. Youngs worked for the San Francisco Exploratorium; and Toscani worked for the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, as well as the Minnesota Children's Museum and Science Museum of Minnesota.