What projects are you currently working on and how is social distancing affecting your art practice?
Future Retrieval (FR): We are currently working on a large solo exhibition for the Cincinnati Art Museum opening in February 2021, so our studio is very busy. Social distancing is affecting our practice tremendously–we are lucky to rent a private, isolated space near our house and we have nothing to do but work in it. Maybe we are making out of fear, but right now it feels like the one thing that we have control of. We are pretending like we are on an extended residency, but without the close network of creative people and good food. We have also been trying to take interesting dog walks (going down a different street!), looking for fossils in the creek, working on the yard, anything to get outside and enjoy spring.
Alice Pixley Young (APY): I am working on a couple of casting projects. The first is a paper casting project called “Ghost Grove.” I’m trying to capture trees/tree stumps that have either recently come down due to blight caused by climate change. I’m casting these in paper and glass and I’m going to use my new drone to capture footage of different forest spaces as well as cleared spaces to create a multimedia installation. I’m also working on some single cast sculptures that will have a video component. For me this this body of work is about the way we remove species through our insatiable need for land and resources. But as I was demolding and removing the mirror from the silicone mold, I also thought about how many of us also feel obsolete or invisible during the COVID-19 crisis. Our jobs are gone or completely changed, we no longer exist in an in-person community, and so much of our ways of creating community through exhibitions and openings have been canceled or closed. I’ve been in a bit of a mourning state for my past self from two months ago as I’m sure so many others are, too.
What advice and tips can you give to other artists during this time?
FR: Use what you have, and finish projects you may have started and abandoned. Work within your means and do something different. We are recycling a lot of materials right now, using what we have on hand or can easily access. Doing anything towards a larger goal gets you one step closer, so we try to do something—anything, every day.
APY: It’s been a crazy up and down time. I put myself on a daily schedule to keep my momentum going, but it still feels like a surreal blur.
How are you cultivating community for yourself and what can the community be doing to support artists?
FR: We have been calling a lot of our friends on the phone and catching up with everyone we can. It is so nice to reach out and just talk, especially knowing everyone is probably at home and needing a distraction. It is also amazing to see Cincinnati organizations and businesses spring into action and support artists locally, extending opportunities for future projects to keep artists in their studios.
APY: I am teaching (remotely now) and am trying to instill creativity in my students as they also suffer—some through depression, some through deeply economically troubled households—during this time of social distancing. I have been partaking in weekly Zoom dates with my close friends and my studio group. I have friends who are making slews of masks, friends who are donating to help keep others afloat—it is definitely a connected world in this regard! I hope that people will give to as many help organizations as they can right now, so many artists (and so many humans in general) live with such thin margins. Be generous.
More About the Artists:
Future Retrieval is the studio collaboration of Guy Michael Davis and Katie Parker. Katie was born in Jonesboro, AR and Guy was born in Bartlesville, OK. They live and work in Cincinnati, OH. where they also teach at the University of Cincinnati.
They create pieces that utilize three-dimensional scanning and digital manufacturing of found forms that are molded and constructed in porcelain, mimicking the history of decorative arts and design. Their process addresses the conceptualization, discovery, and acquisition of form, to make content-loaded sculptures that reference design and are held together by craft. They incorporate an interdisciplinary approach to their work, striving to make influential historic objects relevant to today.
Their work is in the permanent collections of Arizona State University Ceramics Research Center (Tempe, AR), Cincinnati Art Museum (Cincinnati, OH), 21c Museum Hotels, Society of Dresden Porcelain Art (Frietal, Germany), and The Pottery Workshop (Jingdezhen, China).
Alice Pixley Young was raised in Washington DC. She studied Painting and Printmaking at the Ringling College of Art and Design and the New York Studio Residency Program, and received an MA from the Art Academy of Cincinnati and an MFA from the University of Maryland. She lives and runs a studio in Cincinnati, OH.
Primarily working with multimedia installations, Young’s work utilizes video and light projected through glass objects and kinetic sculptures to create immersive, moving shadow-drawings. Her work is influenced by research on disruption of climate change, man-made disasters, and the evolution of technology on our (and as our) landscape.