42nd 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: October 4 to November 9, 2019. Opening reception, October 4, 6:00-8:00 p.m.

  • Challenge 2: December 6, 2019, to January 25, 2020. Opening reception, December 6, 6:00-8:00 p.m.

  • Challenge 3: April 3 to May 9, 2020. Opening reception, April 3, 6:00-8:00 p.m.

Challenge 1 artists

Jessica Curtaz

Artist statement:

I take a practice often thought of as feminine domestic craft and bring it into public space, imposing my imagination and “feminine” perspective on the urban landscape. I crochet giant weeds, insects, real and imaginary creatures, creating oversized fantastical renditions of flora and fauna, that I install, with and without permission, on chain link fences, city lampposts, and, occasionally, gallery walls.

My latest work appropriates elements of fairytales, mythology and religion. I interrogate the meaning we imbue in these symbolic elements by removing them from their original context and installing them in unexpected places. Do fairy tale roses elicit feelings of beauty, flesh, mortality, and danger when installed at the airport? Does a chimera have more or less meaning when on a city fence? Does Arachne, a woman cursed into the body of a spider for daring to challenge Athena, hold sway beyond the giant scale that I have created? These pieces incorporate humor and escapism into an explicitly political feminist project, blending the banal with the fantastical, the domestic realm with the public sphere.

Jenny Lynn

Artist statement:

I think of my work – which ranges from photographs, photograms and collages to large-scale installations and dimensional constructions – as visual poems. They are realms in which I explore the interplay between object and image, dream and reality, chance and design, and collective and personal consciousness. Drawing upon my backgrounds in painting, photography and film, I “use everything” in my art. I take an intuitive, tactile, hands-on approach to my work, mixing careful planning with the “accidents” that happen during the creative process. The finished piece – my end point – then becomes the starting point for the viewer.

Melissa Joseph

Artist statement:

To recognize self in others is to understand what it means to be human and to be fragile. My work as an artist addresses this phenomenon and is dedicated to mending and healing some of the seemingly persistent failures of civic and social infrastructure. The work explores memories and our relationships to them: nostalgic, obsessive, glorifying, dismissive, repressed. Using Indian silk for these is intentional and functional. Textiles speak to how our bodies interact with space, and folds allow for only limited accessibility. The work is also concerned with the way in which we occupy space and the peculiarities of diasporic life. This is both political and emotional. Whether we are aware of it or not, our body takes comprehensive notes of our experiences.

Challenge 2 artists

Candace Jensen

Deep Green Query
Calligraphic illumination and decorated texts are found in numerous spiritual traditions, both in the western and eastern canons. The most celebrated examples include text from the Abrahamic religions, but also yantra and thangka paintings and scrolls from Buddhist, Tantric, Zen, and other traditions. Secular poetry and histories, books of hours, and even J.R.R. Tolkien’s works figure into the tradition of the craft. All seek to canonize text and poetic image, which profess to hold Truth, or Value, and thus be worthy of reverence and commitment to their preservation for posterity.

As a painter, calligrapher, and printmaker, the production of image and reproduction of language as text is inherently precious to me. Yet I challenge the dominant tradition of reservation of these crafts for potent traditional scriptures and poetry in our march toward Progress. In this chaotic and melancholic, desperate time that we find ourselves living in, the greatest comfort and hope for our future lies not in the sole dedication to canonical text and tradition’s trajectory (although it does not necessarily exclude it either). No, in my view the very thing we need to reflect upon with utter reverence is the golden glow of imagination and investigation of our selves in relationship to the breathing, buzzing, humming, growling, rustling world we are part of.

The Gaia Illuminations series puts handmade ink, herbs, and gold leaf on paper to revere the very act of grappling with the meaning of our place in this world. My source texts are treated not as holy books, but revered, reference manuscripts. Represented in the series are scholars, Tantrikas, scientists, medicine women, shamans, activists, poets and philosophers,
Calligraphic illumination and decorated texts are found in numerous spiritual traditions, both in the western and eastern canons. The most celebrated examples include text from the Abrahamic religions, but also yantra and thangka paintings and scrolls from Buddhist, Tantric, Zen and other traditions. Secular poetry and histories, books of hours and even J.R.R. Tolkien’s works figure into the tradition of the craft. All seek to canonize text and poetic image which profess to hold Truth, or Value, and thus be worthy of reverence and commitment to their preservation for posterity.

As a painter, calligrapher and printmaker, the production of image and reproduction of language as text is inherently precious to me. Yet I challenge the dominant tradition of reservation of these crafts for potent traditional scriptures and poetry in our march toward Progress. In this chaotic and melancholic, desperate time that we find ourselves living in, the greatest comfort and hope for our future lies not in the sole dedication to canonical text and tradition’s trajectory (although it does not necessarily exclude it either). No, in my view the very thing we need to reflect upon with utter reverence is the golden glow of imagination and investigation of our selves in relationship to the breathing, buzzing, humming, growling, rustling world we are part of.

The Gaia Illuminations series puts hand-made ink, herbs and gold leaf on paper to revere the very act of grappling with the meaning of our place in this world. My source texts are treated not as holy books, but revered, reference manuscripts. Represented in the series are scholars, Tantrikas, scientists, medicine women, shamans, activists, poets and philosophers, environmentalists, and cultural critics. The Truth of their words is found in the way their statements read more like questions, their convictions more like endless curiosity. In this way, I am illuminating not just the theme and Truth of interdependence through Gaia theory, sacred economics and non-duality, but actually a restoration of human query and profound imagination as the most sacred use of our imperfect, beautiful languages.

Meredith Sellers

Meredith Sellers is an artist, writer, and educator based in Philadelphia. She is an editor for Title Magazine and her writing has appeared in Hyperallergic, ArtsJournal, and Pelican Bomb, among others. She has exhibited work at ICA, Lord Ludd, Vox Populi, Icebox Project Space, Pilot Projects, Black Oak House, Pressure Club, and Delaware County Community College and has curated exhibitions at Crane Arts, Pilot Projects, and Esther Klein Gallery. Meredith is the arts and accessibility programs coordinator at the Mütter Museum and has lectured at UPenn, Moore College of Art and Design, Temple University, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia. She received her BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art and her MFA from the University of Pennsylvania.

Hanna Vogel

Artist statement:

I create imaginary landscapes and growths to investigate the effects of entropy on our environments. I transform the commonplace materials of paper and steel wire into unfamiliar forms and textures that evoke growth, decay, and the tenuousness of our surroundings. By referencing craft traditions and natural processes of dissolution, my work addresses aspects of existence on the edge of potential destruction. The physical and connotative properties of my materials speak of the possibility of their demise — a wrinkled, skin-like coating of paper is stained and slowly decayed by its rusting steel wire skeleton. My work asserts the craft-based primacy of the handmade, grounding itself in the physical world on which we all, ultimately, rely.

Combined with this materiality, the scale and visual delicacy of my work request viewers’ spatial consideration when interacting with it. The size and placement of the objects compared to the body describe the nature of their relationship. Some works loom down from above as if sitting in judgement or, alternately, being elevated above the destructive reach of human hands. Others strive to coexist, overcoming the internal tension between the vivacity embodied by their forms and the decay implied by their materials. By openly displaying their own physical vulnerabilities, these objects underscore the precarity of our surrounding ecosystems. In doing so, my work aims to cultivate compassion for the physical world around us and for our own impermanent selves.

Challenge 3 Artists

Victoria Ahmadizadeh

Artist Statement:

I document my life in writing and am continually editing poetry together from cell phone notes, sketchbook pages and diary entries. These poems, in which the speaker longs to transcend heartbreak, Philadelphian ruthlessness, and the limitations of corporeality itself, are then made tactile as images and objects. In both the studio and gallery space, I play with written and physical material, transfiguring lived experience into a redeemed bedroom-pop dreamscape. Glass often serves as an anchoring element in my work; I am continually allured by its sharp softness, slick transparency, and ability to embody rich color that glows from within. These formal qualities make glass an ideal vehicle for translating the poetic metaphors that carry my practice.

Miguel Antonio Horn

Artist statement:

My work explores the integration of the natural and digital worlds. I create sculptures of the human form reinterpreted through digital manipulation and industrial, computer-based production methods. My recent works on paper explore the use of software and digital manipulation to recreate organic and constructed environments using Lidar data. In this ongoing dialogue with the advanced technology I employ, I am trying to reaffirm the role of the artist and craftsman as a necessary component of creation in the age of digital automation and rapid reproduction. My compositions address power dynamics, conflict, loss, marginalization and deterioration. I seek to evoke an emotional response from an audience with this work, challenging viewers to address societal issues. My work often is seen in public spaces, in interventions that challenge the built environment, existing structures and architecture.