The 39th 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. Three 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, the National Endowment for the Arts, and through Fleisher members.

Challenge 1

  • September 2 - November 12, 2016

Amber Johnston

Amber Johnston grew up in Lexington, KY, and now lives and works in Philadelphia. She received her BFA in ceramics at the University of the Arts and her MFA in Photography at Rochester Institute of Technology. Besides teaching at Fleisher and The Clay Studio, she also freelances her photography and design work. She is interested in showing the human condition using photography and video installation. Her work has been shown internationally.

Michelle Marcuse

Artist statement:
Through drawings and sculptures, I create dystopic and sometimes utopic fairy-tales filtered through the world of my unconscious. Although seemingly industrial, my 3D structures are anthropomorphic studies based on occurrences due to human folly. My narrative highlights the resulting consequences such as alienation, the search for belonging, the desires for communication and the need to keep up in an inhumanely deviated world. These works are a symbol of the human spirit, its endurance, and its vulnerability.

I have used found cardboard for its expressive qualities and because it is readily available as discards. After deconstructing, I remain open to the expectation of discovery through the process of restructuring my pieces. I then work back into the surfaces with gouache, graphite, and water based mediums.

Brian Richmond

Artist statement:

Mass produced packaging is impersonal and ubiquitous. You see it everywhere you go; on the street, in the store, at work, in and outside your house. It is so omnipresent we stop noticing it. It is part of our landscape as if it was naturally occurring, while it is highly manufactured. By individualizing it through the painting process I make something unique which many may believe to be “found art” but is a painting.

Challenge 2

  • April 7 - May 20, 2017

Debbie Lerman

Artist statement:

Uncovering

I came to art-making in middle-age, born in an analog world and delving eagerly into the digital. In Uncovering, I use  21st-century digital tools to subvert age-old stereotypes regarding female bodies, roles and relationships.

The Uncovering series began with a quilt. Not a pieced-together fabric bedcover but something utterly fake, totally photographic. An ironic commentary on reality versus appearance. I researched historic quilt patterns and challenged myself to transform these familiar designs into something entirely digital that could be printed on paper and hung on a wall. I photographed fabric samples depicting strangely inappropriate subjects like strippers, dollar bills, and guns downloaded from the internet, then used Photoshop to cut and paste them into traditional patterns like “Grandmother’s Flower Garden” and “ Double Wedding Rings.”

A quilt is a body covering, and after making the quilts I was ready to look at the bodies underneath. Photographs of nude women made by men are a dime-a-dozen, but where were pictures of naked men made by women? Very hard to find. Straight men, I discovered, are reluctant to pose for women and are uncomfortable when gazing publicly at their own gender unclothed. Using my husband as model and muse, I began to make what seem to be Photoshopped collages of fragmented male bodies floating in colorful settings but are actually undoctored photographs made in the studio with an elaborate set-up of mirrors and reflections. As with the quilts, they are 21st– century trompe l’oeil illusions that question traditional gender roles.

In yet another stage of Uncovering, I wanted to pose my husband and myself together in a way that was tender and intimate but not sexual. I photographed each of us separately, front and back, nude and standing, arms down. These images are printed on transparent glass rectangles, my back on one side, my husband’s front on the other. Then the reverse: his front, my back. It takes a bit of looking to untangle the overlapping parts. These body blendings convey so much about love, togetherness, and intimacy that I am now photographing other couples in a similar way.

Amy Ritter

Artist statement:
This past year I have been using self-portraiture to build a landscape that suggests traditional representations of the female body in western visual culture and challenges the meaning of that body. I use my gaze to make contact with the viewer. I efface the body of its breasts, and pubic region in some instances, to assume an androgynous appearance. In this way I’m also questioning gender and what it means to be a woman.

My work has characteristics of painting, sculpture, photography and architecture. Concrete, cardboard, and digital images are the core materials I’ve been working with. These materials relate back to my childhood of growing up in a mobile home in Eastern Pennsylvania. Once these homes are built they immediately begin to decay. The foundation is built upon concrete cinderblocks to hold the home. I see the cinderblocks as a foundation, both literal in the way it holds up a home and as a metaphorical replacement for the legs that hold up our bodies. I cast concrete legs by pouring cement into denim jeans and either injecting rebar or leaving them as truncated stumps. These allude to the foundation of a body and also an architectural column.

My investigations of the female body are grounded in our current visual culture and historical references. My material choices relate back to the make- shift home and the people who inhabit them.

Emily White

Artist statement:
I am drawn to the relationship between the animal and its changing environment. The rise of industry and technology have altered our native landscapes and redefined the relationships forged between humans and animals. My paintings are paired with objects that are distinctly human, illustrating the bond of the animal’s life with our own. My sculpted animals are realistic and anatomically correct. I construct them with materials and techniques that have historical and cultural significance, using the medium and form to demonstrate the source of impact to the animal’s life. I leave the play between the materials and subject open to interpretation, inviting audiences to reflect on the consequences of human industry and innovation on our natural world, and our relationship to it.