a wave, still here is the first exhibition by the members of Wharf Collective. The collective was formed with a mission to support emerging artists and build community through dialogue and collaboration across the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Tyler School of Art, Moore College of Art, and the University of Pennsylvania. Wharf came together in this site-specific exhibition inspired by the long and rich history of the Cherry Street Pier. Their works explore concepts of time, the depths of memory, and the seascape surrounding the Pier. These inquiries are investigated in a variety of media including the use of the archive, vernacular material collection, textiles, sound, and time-based media.
This exhibition explores the history of a pier that once served as Philadelphia’s front door. The Pier was established in 1919 and it is the only pier in the city with its historic headhouse still intact. Just as water remembers the movement of ships traveling across oceans, so does a building carry on its beams the weight of history and time. The artists explore the ways in which memory and history are recorded: through water, sound, and the discarded materials that accumulate throughout the years. Jennifer Green’s You can't step in the same river twice, an I-beam coated with an ever-changing image, reveals the vulnerability of the foundations of modernity. Shannon Murphy’s Halfway through, and already over and Elizabeth Kelly’s Pier No. 9 Cyanotype Study reference the original structure of the Pier through its architectural elements: a building sewn together by hand and an instant memorialized by the archive. These blueprints of the original structures act as portals taking us back to when the Pier served as a marine-railroad terminal and industrial gateway into the city. Em Rea’s No Good Kings, No True Kings chooses to focus on the community surrounding the Pier, creating multi-layered windows with discarded materials collected in the nearby area. Looking at the Pier’s shifting role over time, the works in this exhibition both challenge and re-envision its present and the histories of the people that inhabit it.
a wave, still here
still here, a wave.