Art in the Open: Se­lec­tions from 2018 to open at Schuylkill Cen­ter next month.

The Review - - FRONT PAGE - By Christina Catanese

A mys­te­ri­ous, vine-wo­ven fig­ure re­cently ap­peared be­hind the Schuylkill Cen­ter’s Vis­i­tor Cen­ter build­ing. Though lack­ing fa­cial fea­tures or limbs per se, it feels hu­man-ish and ap­pears to gaze over the hill into the for­est.

This sculp­ture, cre­ated by Brook­lyn-based artist Anki King, was the first piece from our fall ex­hi­bi­tion to be in­stalled this sum­mer. King har­vested vines from the Schuylkill Cen­ter prop­erty while they were still grow­ing strong in the height of the Au­gust grow­ing sea­son for max­i­mum ben­e­fit to the ecosys­tem as well as pli­a­bil­ity.

Over the next few weeks, nine more artists will in­stall their work in our en­vi­ron­men­tal art gallery be­fore the show of­fi­cially opens on Sept. 13. Their work spans a di­verse range of prac­tices and ma­te­ri­als – along with this vine sculp­ture, there will be on dis­play wet plate col­lo­dion pho­tog­ra­phy, weav­ings from dis­carded tex­tiles, ce­ramic tiles with em­broi­dery de­tails, draw­ings, po­laroids, cyan­otypes, printed mono­types and more.

What these works have in com­mon is that all of the artists were 2018 par­tic­i­pants in Art in the Open, a pub­lic art pro­gram in which se­lected artists create their work on Philadel­phia’s Schuylkill Banks for three days. We are pleased to be of­fer­ing these artists the op­por­tu­nity to adapt their work to our spa­ces, con­tin­u­ing our part­ner­ship with this city­wide pro­gram for the third time.

Akin to King, Si­van Ilan uti­lized un­con­ven­tional ma­te­ri­als in her work, chal­leng­ing their typ­i­cal per­cep­tion as waste or un­de­sir­able ma­te­ri­als. A mas­ter’s stu­dent in tex­tile de­sign at Philadel­phia Uni­ver­sity, she cre­ated large wo­ven pan­els made ex­clu­sively from scrap fab­ric found in the uni­ver­sity’s stu­dios.

Mia Rosen­thal and Christo­pher Wood present dif­fer­ent kinds of draw­ings which shed light on how a place par­tic­i­pates in the draw­ings them­selves.

Rosen­thal cre­ated de­tailed ink draw­ings of items that she found on the ground on the River Trail, as well as in her neigh­bor­hood play­ground. These metic­u­lous por­traits of lo­cal de­tri­tus re­veal some­thing about the char­ac­ter of their place.

Wood, in ad­di­tion to con­tin­u­ing his Day­draw­ing se­ries (in which he has com­pleted a new pow­dered graphite draw­ing each day since Jan. 1, 2016), ex­per­i­mented with ways that the en­vi­ron­ment could par­tic­i­pate in the draw­ings. He left pa­per with graphite in var­i­ous lo­ca­tions on the trail, some­times weighted with dif­fer­ent ob­jects, and al­lowed the weather and place to shape the ma­te­rial.

Loom­ing large in the room will be a place-spe­cific sculp­ture trans­planted into gallery by Matt Greco and Chris Esposito. This team par­tic­i­pated in Art in the Open for the third time to­gether this year and cre­ated an ag­gran­dized form of a bol­lard – those posts used to se­cure a ship to a dock with ropes, a ubiq­ui­tous el­e­ment from the Schuylkill River’s ship­ping his­tory. Blow­ing this of­ten over­looked ob­ject up to a size that can­not be ig­nored forces re­flec­tion on how this in­dus­trial le­gacy may still be felt to­day.

These works and more draw in­spi­ra­tion from place in a va­ri­ety of ways, and the par­tic­u­lar lo­ca­tion of Art in the Open, between the Schuylkill River and the deeply ur­ban built en­vi­ron­ment of Cen­ter City Philadel­phia, of­fers an op­por­tu­nity for artists to com­ment on and com­pli­cate the re­la­tion­ship between peo­ple and na­ture. Trans­plant­ing these works to the Schuylkill Cen­ter site, which also bor­ders the River Trail about 10 miles north of the Art in the Open site, gives us a chance to con­sider these re­la­tion­ships from yet an­other an­gle.

Please join us to meet the artists at the open­ing re­cep­tion of Art in the Open: Se­lec­tions from 2018 on Sept. 13 at 6 p.m. En­joy artist talks, light re­fresh­ments in the gallery and a short walk to the out­door in­stal­la­tion. Art in the Open: Se­lec­tions from 2018 will be on view through Oct. 27.

Christina Catanese di­rects the Schuylkill Cen­ter’s en­vi­ron­men­tal art pro­gram, tweets @Schuylkil­lArt and can be reached at christina@ schulkill­cen­ter.org. For more in­for­ma­tion on the en­vi­ron­men­tal art pro­gram, visit schuylkill­cen­ter.org.

Anki King’s work is on dis­play at the Schuylkill Cen­ter

SUB­MIT­TED PHO­TOS — SCHUYLKILL CEN­TER

Sil­van Ilan’s art­work will be on dis­play at the Schuylkill Cen­ter.

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