—With this exhibit, the Wind Challenge proves again its importance as a proving ground for emerging artists, as Alison tells us below.–the artblog editors——————->The third and final installment of this year’s Wind Challenge at the Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial includes work by Elizabeth Hamilton, Jake Kehs, and Julianna Foster. The three artists were chosen among 247 applicants for the juried exhibition that was created over 20 years ago to highlight local talent.
Elizabeth Hamilton’s work is comprised of humble gestures. Whether using thread to mend broken dishes or attaching fake flowers to photographs of neighbors’ front lawns, she adopts a homespun approach. By intentionally making her additions and repairs visible, Hamilton adopts the skill level of the lay person. Her futile efforts to beautify and preserve suggest the gap between what was, what is, and what could be.
In Jake Kehs’ installation “The Woods”, nature is a place of danger and mystery. Loud chirping alarm sounds and flashing colored lights signal peril from a monstrous creature in a nest of branches. A possum hangs from a branch, a small pond is painted with a ring of flowers, marijuana sprouts from the ground, and the moon glistens. With its mix of realistic depictions of nature and surreal elements, the work captures the intrigue of the woods.
Drawing inspiration from the story of an alleged storm only witnessed by a few coastal residents, Julianna Foster creates imagined scenes that incorporate natural phenomenon. Her photographs of landscapes include suspended orbs of light that could be interpreted as a photographic artifact, precipitation, or evidence of the supernatural. In her book of cloud formations, Foster also plays with the idea of photographic truth, using a smoke machine to create turbulent storms. As further evidence, the artist provides visitors with free newspaper prints of the alleged event.
As a long-standing competition that has helped launch many Philadelphia artists, it’s easy to see why each year the Wind Challenge is a place to find new and emerging talent. The show’s three artists present compelling bodies of work that are evidence of each one exploring new ideas and forms. It’s a great introduction. The three solo shows are on view through May 11. More at the Fleisher website.