History is present in "Future Retrieval: Close Parallel," making its debut at Cincinnati Art Museum

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History is present in "Future Retrieval: Close Parallel," making its debut at Cincinnati Art Museum
Console Table, circa 1715–20, after designs by Bernard Turreau (1672–1731), France, gilt wood and griotte marble, Cincinnati Art Museum; John J. Emery Fund, 1976.24.

CINCINNATI, OH.- Artworks from the museum’s permanent collection are reimagined in the new Cincinnati Art Museum exhibition Future Retrieval: Close Parallel on view Feb. 26–Aug. 29.

A Rhesus monkey in gleaming aluminum, parrots in wool shag, flowers and mushrooms in porcelain and hand cut paper. This exhibition allows the new and unexpected to delight in dialogue with the historic.

In Close Parallel, the contemporary work of Future Retrieval commingles with selections from the museum’s permanent collection. Traditional motifs are reinterpreted. The natural world creeps in, to fascinating effect, and familiar materials are reworked into surprising new forms.

Future Retrieval is the name of the studio collaboration of artists Katie Parker and Guy Michael Davis, both former University of Cincinnati DAAP faculty members. Their unique practice involves the acquisition and reinventions of historical forms and a mastery of traditional and cutting-edge production technologies to create works in porcelain and a wide range of other media.

“I love how integral museums and archives are to Future Retrieval’s work. They find inspiration from the past, and in referencing it and paying reverence, they create something completely new, propelling it into the contemporary,” said Amy Dehan, CAM Curator of Decorative Arts and Design. “At the same time, they have an uncommonly keen interest in perfection, and bring a mastery of technique to everything.”

The free exhibition will be on view in The Manuel D. and Rhoda Mayerson Gallery and Sara M. and Michelle Vance Waddell Gallery (G124 and 125), across from the museum’s Terrace Café. Photography is encouraged, but no flash.

While not every piece created for the show is a direct response to a piece from the past, everything is in some way historically or thematically connected, and Future Retrieval’s artwork spans style and media deftly. Pieces by Future Retrieval date between 2014 and 2020, while the works that inspired them date anywhere from the eighteenth to the early twentieth century.

To develop this highly distinctive show, Parker and Davis took a deep dive into the museum’s storage vaults with Dehan, searching for pieces whose artistic merit and historic significance had, for various reasons, been out of the spotlight for some time.

“We looked at artworks from the museum’s permanent collection and the artists found pieces that, in many instances, shared an affinity with the themes of their own work and that they wanted to see reexamined, or rediscovered in a contemporary way,” said Dehan. “This exhibition brings a fresh and wonderful relevance to our historic collection and encourages us all to stretch our minds and considerations of these artworks.”

In addition to the work on display in the Vance Waddell and Mayerson Galleries, Future Retrieval has curated a selection of the museum’s ceramic collection to fill Gallery 150, located between the museum’s lobby and Schmidlapp Gallery. Titled For Now or Future Retrieval, this artist-curated space will showcase additional works that inspired Close Parallel and Future Retrieval’s continual thinking and practice.

A mini-documentary on the artists and their work will replace the customary in-person lecture to open the exhibition and will be available to view online for free. There is also a complimentary catalogue and exhibition guide for visitors available in the exhibition and for download.

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