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Call for Entry

Wharton Esherick Themed Exhibition Wharton Esher­ick Museum

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Please note: this opportunity has expired!
The Theme this year is Rhythms!


Often defined as a strong, regular, repeated pattern of move­ment or sound, rhythm is a signif­i­cant theme in Wharton Esherick’s life and career in numer­ous guises. Rhythms and Rhythms II are tall, flowing abstract forms that Esher­ick made from cotton­wood in the 1960s which have the word as their title. Four decades prior in the print Rhythms, Opening (1923), Esher­ick composed a tangle of figures in ecsta­tic motion, build­ing the energy of the image through strong contrast and abstracted form. This print was used as the cover illus­tra­tion for a brochure for the Ruth Doing Camp for Rhyth­mics, where instruc­tors used dance to bring bodies depleted by urban life closer to the pace and patterns of the natural world. 

A tour through WEM is an exer­cise in spot­ting rhythms. Visual rhythms also echo through­out the Studio. The iconic Spiral Stair­case (1930) is made through a repe­ti­tion of sculp­tured stair treads, each with slight vari­a­tion from the next. The curly oak surface of the Cabinet Desk (1958) is subtly adorned through the natural rhythms of wood grain. Visi­tors also learn about what Esher­ick valued by seeing how the build­ing and expan­sion of his home and studio supported the rhythms of his chang­ing creative life. Like­wise, our lives are made of daily, weekly, monthly rhythms. Some of our rhythms are instinc­tual, like the drawing of breath, in and out, over and over. We exist within patterns, and when we’ve stepped outside of them and the rhythm changes, we notice. 

For the Wharton Esher­ick Museum’s 30th Annual Juried Wood­work­ing Exhi­bi­tion, we invite you to think about the rhythms that shape your creative prac­tice. How do the rhythms of life – whether the daily move­ments, from waking to sleep, or the larger rhythms of shift­ing seasons or other cycles – show up in your work? Does making artwork help you capture rhythms, or keep you on time”? Are there specific rhythms that you center in your creative work? What visual or mate­r­ial rhythms speak loudest through the works you create? We encour­age appli­cants to think about this idea broadly, and hope you’ll submit entries across the spec­trum of approaches to this theme, from literal to inter­pre­tive. We look forward to seeing it all.