Amy Myers, SilviUniverse, 2019, oil on canvas.
“The perspective of particle physics is one of a universe without stuff.
All particles exist with the potential to combine with and become different particles.
They are intermediate states in a network of interactions and are based upon events, not things.”
Amy Myers -
Using physics “as a springboard into the imagination,” Amy Myers creates immersive, meditative artworks that depict unimaginable spaces and improbable systems. While Myers is best known for her highly detailed drawings visually influenced by particle physics, philosophy, biology, and the human mind, her recent artistic focus has been on painting, a medium with which she began seriously working six years ago.
Though Myers’ primary conceptual starting point is theoretical physics, she modulates between a range of scientific frameworks in her approach. Echoing the fact that all matter is composed of mostly empty space, Myers’ compositions evoke motion, fluidity and a startling sense of void. Looping, recumbent trajectories suggest the paths of quantum particles with form derived from motion. Myers’ immersion in particle physics since childhood has yielded a highly singular approach to rendering matter, wherein form is fundamentally considered as a consequence of subatomic motion, collisions, particulate interplay and energy transfers. As the artist notes,
The perspective of particle physics is one of a universe without stuff. All particles exist with the potential to combine with and become different particles. They are intermediate states in a network of interactions and are based upon events, not things.
While Myers’ approach to depicting mass and form is informed by consideration of subatomic dynamics, the primacy of negative space within her work simultaneously evokes the celestial. Thus, her images collapse and commingle the infinitely microscopic and macroscopic in a manner that cannot be disentangled by the viewer, with his or her perspective constantly shifting between the universe in a grain of sand or the universe itself in its infinite expanse.
In Myers’ hands, such ideas yield forms that are suffused with the contingent or indeterminate. Though rooted in quantitative theory, the notion that the universe’s constituents are simultaneously everywhere and nowhere leads towards the stubbornly nonempirical realm of the metaphysical. Such ethereal domains are referenced in Myers’ paintings with visual allusions to totemic symbology. Also frequently embedded within Myers’ works are anatomic-seeming forms. Though these forms have an innately feminine character, they remain more referential than literal.
Critic Miriam Brumer describes Myers’ imagery as follows:
Consciously, [Myers] refers to subatomic particles, galactic forces and sexual organs, but what our eyes perceive is a magically engendered, non-specific world, in which elements tenuously exist in an activated space and in a constant state of metamorphosis. She may be thinking about science, but what she has evolved is a mysterious and tenuous world.
Amy Myers (b. 1965, Austin, TX) is a New York-based artist whose large-scale abstract drawings and paintings simultaneously reference particle physics, biology, philosophy, the human mind, and the mechanics of the universe.
Myers has received numerous grants and fellowships, including The Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant; Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts; Ellen S. Kaminsky Family Foundation Studio Residency and Award at MANA Contemporary; and The Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation Studio Grant. Past residencies include Yaddo Artist Residency (Saratoga Springs, NY); Dora Maar House (Menerbes, France); and The American Academy in Rome.
Previous solo exhibitions include Mike Weiss Gallery (New York, NY); Mary Boone Gallery (New York, NY); Suzanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects (Los Angeles, CA); Danese Gallery (New York, NY); Rhona Hoffman Gallery (Chicago, IL); and Dunn and Brown Contemporary (Dallas, TX).
Past museum exhibitions include The Sweeney Art Museum at California State University (Riverside, CA); Pomona College, Montgomery Art Center (Claremont, CA); and University Art Museum, California State University (Long Beach, CA).
Myers has artworks in the permanent collections of the Solomon R.Guggenheim Museum (New York, NY); Pérez Art Museum Miami (Miami, FL); California State University Art Museum (Long Beach, CA); Fort Wayne Museum of Art (Fort Wayne, IN); Greenville County Museum of Art (Greenville, SC); Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art (Peekskill, NY); Laguna Art Museum (Laguna Beach, CA); Museum of Fine Arts (Houston, TX); Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art (Overland Park, KS); and the American Express Corporate Collection.
Myers’ artworks have been cited in numerous publications, including The New York Times, Hyperallergic, Artnews, Art in America, and BOMB.