40th Annual Wind Challenge Exhibition Series

Established in 1978, the Wind Challenge Exhibition Series is an annual juried competition that is committed to enriching and expanding people’s lives through art. Wind Challenge Exhibitions are held from September through May, featuring the work of exceptional artists living in the Philadelphia region.

The Wind Challenge Exhibition Series is made possible with thanks to generous support from the Wind Foundation and Fleisher members.

Since its inception, the series has introduced regional contemporary art from over three hundred artists to a broad audience and has helped emerging artists advance their professional careers. Past Wind Challenge artists include photographer Robert Asman and sculptor Syd Carpenter, both of whom were later awarded a Pew Fellowship in the Arts; beloved Fleisher teaching artist Charlotte Yudis; and brothers Billy and Stephen Dufala, winners of the 2009 West Prize.  In 2011, a series of free-public programs led by the artists was introduced, designed to enhance the viewing experience for youth and adults.

Exhibition schedule

  • Challenge 1: September 1 to November 3, 2017. Opening reception, September 1, 6:00-8:00 p.m.

  • Challenge 2: December 1 to January 27, 2018. Opening reception, December 1, 6:00-8:00 p.m.

  • Challenge 3: April 6 to May 11, 2018. Opening reception, April 6, 6:00-8:00 p.m.

Challenge 1 artists

Jan Almquist

Artist statement – Outside In:

Remember what you have seen,
Because everything forgotten
Returns to the circling winds. 1

My images are about recollections of the natural world—post impressions.

My most recent images are, put simply, photographs of drawings. Each drawing becomes the basis for each set-up environment. By freezing the drawing in time and space—with light that goes beyond a purely descriptive scheme—I create an alternative view that attempts to expand the base media.

I am intrigued with the environment in which a work of art exists. It resides in a certain space, lighted in a certain way—which all contribute to the way it’s perceived. I am, by arranging and lighting the drawings, controlling that environment to a certain degree.

These works attempt to blur the lines between media, between representation and abstraction, and between taking and making.

The drawings are discarded and the end result is a photographic print—prepared without digital manipulation.

1. Least Heat-Moon, William (1982). Blue Highways, A Journey Into America (Lines from a Navajo Wind Chant found on the end page) New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company

Brad Jamula

Artist statement:

The majority of my work revolves around helvetica man, a character based on the universal symbol for man and woman. This non-descript figure has become a bridge, or prosthetic, that allows me to connect with others regarding matters of representation, emotion, and human behavior.

As a homogeneous form with no discernible features, its portrayal of us seems dangerously reductionist in its negation of diversity, but also wonderfully Utopian in that it places everyone within the same field of consideration.

In relation to agency, or the power we have as individuals to act and effect change, its lack of hands accentuates a similar contrast. Imagine the frustration of not being
able to tie your shoe, touch a loved one, or ‘like’ something on Instagram. Then again, not needing hands could imply an advanced existence, where the world we’ve
created and the trust we’ve developed in each other transcends the need for action.

My current body of work questions the role agency plays in our lives by posing situations that examine how we’re affected by the more primitive aspects of our collective actions.

I am a multi-disciplinary artist living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I received my BFA from the University of the Arts, and my MFA from Tyler School of Art, where I currently teach as an adjunct professor.

Omid Shekari

Artist statement:

I love my country. My country is the best. It is protected by god, he has always protected it. We must do anything we can to protect it. We must not let ‘others’ threaten our country. We will win, like before. We will beat ‘them’. We sacrifice ‘them’ for ‘our’ country. The country comes always first, even before ‘us’. We are the means not the ends, the country is the ends. We must love ‘our’ country.

Challenge 2 artists

Corliss Cavalieri

Artist statement:

I’m very interested in paint as its own thing, and in part my imagery is developed through paint itself — its application, its visceral self, its manipulation by pulling and teasing an image from the primordial ooze of colored grease onto cloth. Beginning a painting, I intuitively pick up a tube of paint, and as I proceed, one pigment begs to befriend another. My process is not a matter of working from sketch to larger drawings to painting. It’s more about the final image consisting of elements saved through the painting process and how it stays becomes the question. Color is built up, and then it is shattered. My love of the materiality of paint has led me to experimentation with techniques that engender an “archaeology of surface,” including staining, scratching, pentimenti, line, color, forms, scraping, rubbing, transparent, opaque, texture, printing, drawing, thick/thin mediums, marble dust.

I don’t see my work as interior design where a painting needs a little of this or that, red there or blue here. I like to see myself more as a shaman calling forth an alternate reality. Visual language is wrested from the painting medium while in its most viscous state, striking a chord deep within my psyche. I build upon elements that are felt more than defined, combing them out, distilling and refining their essence, and fusing figures with color fields: a certain making sense out of all the random elements of imagery and effects that occur on the surface at the same time. Time plays into the process by the rate and speed of my hand before the oil paint dries. I have several paintings going on at one time, and if I lose myself with one I let it dry, roll it up and return later. Creating a painting, for me, is possessed of an unbridled creativity that aspires to “flesh.”

With colors and shapes dancing around in my head from the outer world into a filter of psychological space through which they emerge. I gather, assimilate, and synthesize images. Enigmatic, exaggerated forms bubble up from my memory bank of patterns, motifs, and objects from ancient to modern. I find much of my creativity in messy and nostalgic delivery systems: urban detritus of littered streets, a childhood memory, basement clutter, antique shops storing vast arrays of material culture. Associated meanings and recognition are defamiliarized or jettisoned. Because of how universal forms are placed aside one another a sense of developed meaning exists, elevating the usual and ordinary into the unusual, exotic, perplexed and unexpected. I play at the table of dissociative imagery and common core standards, ruthlessly simplified, aiming-aimless; but the result is never aimlessly.

I like work that wanders freely between one place and another. Meandering and varied, most of my paintings invite you in for conversations, but then you don’t know where to sit. It’s a quiet look at another world, and it is work more about keeping secrets and scoffing at what we think we know rather than extolling virtues. That we have ever understood the world around us is a lie in a sense, because it is of our making.

Jerry Kaba

Jerry Kaba received a BFA from Rowan University (2006) and an MFA from Tyler School of Art/Temple University in Ceramics and Glass (2008).  He currently teaches at Moore College of Art and Design and is the Ceramics Area Head at Montclair State University.

In 2012 Kaba founded an artist-run exhibition space in Philadelphia – Practice – that caters to performing and installation artwork. Practice brings in artists from Philadelphia, but more often, national and international artists, promoting a broader artistic exchange to Philadelphia’s art community.

Kaba exhibits regularly both in the formal gallery setting and as a guerrilla street performance artist. Kaba recently executed large-scale installation/performance work at the 2017 NCECA conference in Portland Oregon and at his solo show at Kitchen Table Gallery, Philadelphia. You may have also caught his work in the underground concourse bellow Broad Street Philadelphia, outside of the Barns Foundation, or Rittenhouse Park just to name a few locations.

His works range from small-scale objects to large-scale installation/performance art. Kaba’s work often explores a wide range of themes from religious ritual practice to professional wrestling and everything in between.

For his Wind Challenge Exhibition, he will be continuing his installation/performance based series that focuses on religious ritual practice. This installation will be a participatory event that merges performance, sculpture and sound.

Sarah Peoples

Artist statement:

Personal experience motivates this work, however the sculptures made for this exhibition purposefully use mundane materials to encourage accessibility, with color acting as a symbolic point of entry for the viewer. These two elements are paramount forms of expression in this body of work. Color is a highly subjective way to communicate and the common-place materials establish a visual contradiction within the clean space of a traditional white-walled gallery. This tension between universal symbolism and the personal creates a gateway for interpretation.

Image at right: The Meaning of Everything, Part I, courtesy of Automat Gallery, Philadelphia.

Challenge 3 artists

Hee Sook Kim

Artist statement:

In my most recent work, I’ve taken the subject, both in form and imagery, of Korean historical landscape painting, which were typically made for the Korean upper class known as Yang Ban. Printing patterns on top of the landscape traditionally used in Asian paintings transforms the initial layer, now seen through a feminine veil. The painting’s surface, covered with glass beadwork using shimmering rhinestones, speaks against the power of men in Korean cultural history and still prevalent in contemporary Korean society. The work is a construct/destruct/re-construct. I use my personal experiences as a woman who immigrated to the United States 28 years ago, after living in Korea until I was 28 years old. This equal length of experiences in two completely different countries makes possible a hybridity that presents both cultures through the eyes of my own particular feminist perspective in both my life and work.

Kristen Neville Taylor

Kristen Neville Taylor’s diverse practice combines drawing, sculpture, and glass, which converge playfully in installation-style environments. Her work considers perceptions of nature and culture through science, anthropology, science fiction, and mythology, as well as, the moon, weather, and emotions. Objects and images come together to tell stories that challenge prevailing attitudes and dispel myths related to politics and environmental history. Her practice has been described as alchemical and utilizes pseudo-scientific experimentation to trouble the authority given the fields of science and technology. Taylor’s work has been shown at Vox Populi, Bunker Hull and the Philadelphia Art Alliance in Philadelphia, PNCA, Richard Stockton and Rowan University Art Galleries in New Jersey, and Expo Chicago. She has organized several exhibitions including Landscape Techne at Little Berlin, which she co-founded in 2007, The Usable Earth at the Esther Klein Gallery, and most recently she co-curated Middle of Nowhere in the Pine Barrens. Taylor is the recipient of the Laurie Wagman Prize in Glass, the Jack Malis Scholarship, and a 2017 Vermont Studio Center Fellowship.

Tamsen Wojtanowski

Tamsen Wojtanowski is an artist living and working in Philadelphia. Her work has been included in recent exhibitions at The Satellite Show, Miami, FL; COOP Gallery, Nashville, TN; Soil Gallery, Seattle, WA; Lux/Eros Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; The Black Box Gallery, Portland, OR; and 621 Gallery, Tallahassee, FL. She was added to Fotofilmic’s 2016 Spring Shortlist, and in 2015, was a top ten finalist in The Print Center’s 89th International Juried Competition. Wojtanowski is a founding member of the artist-run exhibition space NAPOLEON in Philadelphia, started in 2011. She received her MFA from the Tyler School of Art, Temple University, where she is currently an instructor. She also teaches photography at Arcadia University in Glenside.