In 1994, the annual juried woodworking exhibition began as an opportunity to encourage new, creative and imaginative designs in wood. Encouraged to think like Esherick and invent designs both expressive and functional, professional woodworkers, artists, hobbyists and craftspeople have submitted hundreds of pieces reflecting each year’s theme. From wooden jewelry to wall cabinets, chairs to desk accessories and everything in between, the next generation of artistry in wood has passed through the doors of the Wharton Esherick Museum.
Wharton Esherick’s remarkable home and studio is perhaps the most complete self-portrait that exists of this iconoclastic artist. Esherick painted and drew more traditional self-portraits at various points in his career, including his 1919 depiction that hangs at WEM. He was also captured in portraits by artist friends and patrons, including Henry Varnum Poor, Marjorie Content, and Virginia Mason Gifford. And yet, the Studio writ large may show us more than any of these representational images about how Esherick saw himself and his life.
Esherick designed (and redesigned) this space for living life as his truest self. It is filled not only with artworks from all moments of Esherick’s career, but also the objects and inspirations with which he lived, worked, and thought. We consider the Studio to be a living, breathing, dynamic self-portrait, both as it existed while Esherick lived there and as it exists now to share his story. As the Wharton Esherick Museum celebrates its 50th Anniversary in 2022, we’re reflecting on how we’ve shared and interpreted Esherick’s remarkable self-portrait for thousands of people over half a century. In turn, we invite you to share innovative works of art, craft, and design that represent a self-portrait; wood must be part of your entry, but it doesn’t have to be the only material used. Each submission will have a different approach to what it means to make a self-portrait, just as Esherick’s “self-portraits” took on many diverse forms. We hope to see YOU, represented using wood, in some way. You might approach this call through traditional portraiture, an abstract interpretation, a functional work that represents your unique outlook on the world, or some other form of object making that captures who you are.
What’s your version of a self-portrait?
Jurors Fabio J. Fernández, Director, Greenwich House Pottery, and artist, woodworker, and educator Keunho Peter Park, along with Emily Zilber, the Wharton Esherick Museum’s Director of Curatorial Affairs and Strategic Partnerships, will select the finalists for the exhibition from the images submitted using a blind jury process. It is strongly recommended that you submit high-quality images to ensure the jury sees your piece at its best.
The competition is open to both emerging and established makers. Entered works should be available for the duration of the exhibition. Jurors will evaluate the submissions based on inventive approaches to the prompt, craftsmanship and technical proficiency, aesthetics, and other considerations as determined by the jury.
Fabio J. Fernández is an artist, arts advocate, educator, and arts administrator, and the Director of Greenwich House Pottery in New York City. He is the former Executive Director of the Society of Arts + Crafts in Boston where he led the organization through a pivotal time in its long and venerable history. He also served as the Exhibitions Director at the Society and as Associate Curator at Cranbrook Art Museum in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Fernández has planned and executed national exhibitions that presented fresh explorations into the conceptual, technical, and material approaches of contemporary makers. He serves as a Trustee of the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Maine, and he holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan and a Bachelor of Science degree in business from Seton Hall University in New Jersey.
Keunho Peter Park’s artistic work centers around functional objects, furniture, musical instruments, and sculpture. Park holds a BFA in painting from Kookmin University in his home country of South Korea, and an MFA in Woodworking and Furniture Design from the Rochester Institute of Technology. Park won the Wharton Esherick Museum Excellence in Wood Award at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show in 2015 and served as a Windgate resident artist at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He currently teaches woodworking and furniture making at the University of the Arts and has taught workshops at craft schools including Penland School of Arts and Crafts, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Peters Valley School of Craft, and the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship.
A group of works from the final jury selection will be exhibited in the Museum’s 150 square foot visitor center gallery. All of the works in the jury selection will be shared via an online exhibition on the Wharton Esherick Museum’s website and through a small publication (see our 2021 Juried Exhibition, Wood And…, for an idea of what that might look like).
WEM will also host a slate of in-person and virtual public programs connected to the exhibition. Many of the virtual public programs from this past year are also available as recordings on our website.
The pieces may be offered for sale with a 30% commission for the Wharton Esherick Museum; prices are set by the artist. Cash prizes of $500, $300, and $200 for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place will be awarded, as well as a $100 Horace Hartshaw award for middle and high school students, and a $200 Viewer’s Choice award, voted on via WEM’s social media platforms.
Pieces selected for the exhibition will be displayed in a secure area and are insured by the Museum from the time of their arrival to the time of their delivery to the artist or purchaser. The exhibition will open on June 2 and run through August 28.
Entrants should submit a completed entry form online. Please submit no more than 3 images for each entered piece; we recommend two overall images and one detail. Photographs should be JPEG or TIFF files sized at a minimum of 4 x 6 inches at 300 dpi (1200 pixels on the longest side), submitted online. The jury will select finalists via your submitted images, so we suggest sharing images that are as high quality and well-composed as possible.
There is a $30 entry fee ($20 for Museum members; a special $30 membership to the museum is available for artists). The fee is non-refundable and covers the entry of up to three pieces. Additional entry fees apply for more than three pieces.
The entry fee for middle and high school students is $15 and applies to current students only. Please indicate on the entry form if you are a current high school or middle school student to be considered for the Horace Hartshaw award. Hartshaw worked alongside Wharton Esherick in the 1950s and 1960s. This award was created to honor his memory and encourage woodworking in younger generations.
Applicants can submit their work for consideration online here.
The deadline for entry is February 4, 2022 by midnight. All entrants will be notified by March 4, 2022 of the jury’s decision.
Please note on your entry form if your piece(s) are for sale. If they are not for sale, please include a value for insurance and your piece will be marked “Not for Sale” during the exhibition. The Museum retains a 30% commission of your retail price if sold.
If your piece is selected for the onsite exhibition, you are responsible for shipping your work to the Museum. The Museum will pay the cost of shipping unsold pieces back to you after the exhibition closes. You are welcome to drop off your piece before the exhibition but if you are unable to pick up your piece after the show, you will be responsible for the cost of shipping.
Questions regarding the annual juried show? Please contact Emily Zilber at [email protected]