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Artist Alice Pixley Young

Alice Pixley Young is a multimedia installation artist born and raised in Washington DC. Her work examines the interrelationship of landscape, the environment and technology. Young has recently exhibited at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Sarasota Art Museum, The Print Studio London, Governors Island Art Fair, and the Taft Museum of Art. Young has attended residencies at Jentel Foundation, Ragdale, Vermont Studio Center, Virginia Center for Creative Arts, and Hambidge. She is a recipient of grants from the Ohio Arts Council, AIA Summerfair, the City of Cincinnati and the Surdna Foundation. She won Best in Show at InLight Virginia at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts/1708 Gallery in 2015. She is a member of A.I.R. Gallery in Brooklyn, NY and lives and teaches in Cincinnati, OH.

"The disruption of climate change, man-made disasters, and the evolution of technology on our (and as our) landscape has been the driving force of my creative research for several years. Citing art historical roots from the Hudson River School to Land Arts, I examine the interrelationship of landscape, environment, and technology. Primarily working with multimedia installation, I use video and light projected through glass objects and hand cut paper to create immersive, moving shadow-drawings. My other works on paper also address climate crisis, often with gouache, ink and salt in delicately edged compositions reminiscent of hand mirrors but filled with swirling colors dissolving into black inks and starburst shocks of salt crystals."

Tell us a little about yourself and your background in the arts.

I grew up in Washington DC listening to stories from my father over his trauma-filled childhood and the experience of living through a house explosion due to a gas leak. I think this is where my interest in domestic and environmental precarity really began- as a means to make sense of generational trauma of both people and the environment. I attended Ringling College of Art and Design and New York Studio Program before going to University of Maryland for my MFA and later to the Art Academy of Cincinnati for my MA. I was a painter and a printmaker until I realized I could create paintings to “walk into” which is more or less what my installation practice is about.

What kind of work are you currently making?

I think the question is “what am I not working on”! I have a very materially diverse practice, so right now I am working on a large glass casting for a future installation as well as a drawing series called “Blood Moon” that is in support of Planned Parenthood and Sandyhook Promise. As a teacher and a human, I just can’t NOT do something to help. I’m also working on a video installation for FotoFocus Biennial here in Cincinnati and getting ready to install work at the Akron Art Museum this Fall. I’m also an avid gardener and weaver, so throw those things onto the studio list too!

What is a day like in the studio for you?

“Summer studio 24/7 time” just ended as I started back to teaching this week- big sigh. Normally during the teaching year, I have a few days a week I can get into the studio in the later afternoon and early evening. I also work on weekends, but try to balance that with the hubs, so we can spend quality time- like weeding the garden- together! We were finally able to build a studio in the backyard (my husband’s an architect) before the Pandemic, and I grew about 90% of the surrounding garden from seed in my basement. The studio/garden thing was an absolute savior during Covid as I lost my mom in the first few months of the outbreak.When I have a full day, I like to start quietly in the garden in the morning with my sketchbook. Then my studio day might be hours of wax work for lost wax casting with glass, or it may be video and sound editing, or cutting copious amounts of roofing paper for an installation.

What are you looking at right now and/or reading?

I am a book hoarder – my mom was a librarian- so I always have stacks of books from the library. I just finished 'Women’s work: Textile Art from the Bauhaus' by Sigrid Wortmann Weltge, and I’m also absolutely loving the recent catalog I bought at The Art Institute of Chicago of the work of Ishgaan Adams from his exhibition 'Desire Lines' and the Sanford Biggers catalogue from his recent show at the Speed in Louisville. So good! For fiction I'm reading Brit Bennet's 'The Vanishing Half'. I loved her previous book 'The Mothers'.

Where can we find more of your work?

My work is currently at the Sarasota Art Museum in Florida. This is a traveling part of the State of the Art show that opened at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art at the start of 2020. It will go to Akron Art Museum this Fall. I also will have a video installation as a part of the FotoFocus Biennial this October in Cincinnati. You can catch my work at the 21c Museums too- my video sculpture, “Will You Miss Me When I Burn” should be on view in Oklahoma City later this year.

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