*This exhibition is now closed to the public. Stay tuned for
the river is…, opening April 20th, 2023.
January 26 to April 1, 2023
Curated by Jacques-Jean Tiziou
Varvàra Fern, Step into the unknown, 2021, Resin and acrylic paint, 9.5 in x 30 in x 4.5 in
Walking the Edge is a communal display on the experience of walking in nature. Curated by Jacques-Jean Tiziou of “Walk Around Philadelphia,” our fourth bi-annual community exhibition embraces walking as an artistic practice that reflects on our interconnectedness with nature and provides opportunities to gain embodied understanding of the complex ways we interact with our environments.
We invited the creative public to share their artistic expressions about perimeters, borders and boundaries along the city of Philadelphia or in other urban landscapes and natural spaces. The resulting collection of work, much like the city’s own borders, shares a diverse set of experiences. Some address the city’s geographic edge more directly, while others interpret the themes more metaphorically.
As you contemplate this exhibit, we invite you to consider where and how you might encounter borders and boundaries in your own world. Where and how are they created? When and how can they be helpful? In what ways might they be hindrances? How might your experiences differ from those of others with different backgrounds?
This exhibition is supported by the Schuylkill Center’s members, friends and donors.
About the Curator
Jacques-Jean “JJ” Tiziou is an artist, massage therapist and block captain. Best known for his 85,000 sqft How Philly Moves mural at PHL Int’l Airport (the largest piece of public art in the city,) he is also the organizer of Walk Around Philadelphia and has walked the complete perimeter of Philadelphia ten times.
Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education hosts community art exhibition, Roxborough Review by Rick Cawley, January 2023
“Walking the Edge” explores borders and boundaries through art, The Hawk Newspaper by Ally Engelbert, February 2023
Circumnavigating the city on foot: A tutorial on boundaries, Chestnut Hill Local by Carla Robinson, February 2023
Walking the Edge,
The Penn Gazette, February 2023
Check out the Walking the Edge Online Gallery
Quarantine bike rides to lonely places. Northbank housing development on reclaimed industrial site next to Graffiti Pier.
This 2021 view from the Wissahickon Environmental Center across Northwestern Avenue to Montgomery Co. succumbed to housing construction in 2022.
I am inspired by Philadelphia architecture in its many forms in my work. "Wyalusing Ave" represents a drive through West Philly and features some physical borders as well as a merge between nature and architecture.
These are all plein air paintings I painted on location at different banks of the Schuylkill River.
Ann de Forest
Since I first walked the perimeter of Philadelphia in 2016 with three other artists, I've reflected often on what each of those three words -- "Walk" "Around" "Philadelphia" -- mean, and how each in its own way encapsulates a different aspect of the experience. I drafted what I call a Walk Around Philadelphia Manifesto, though unlike most manifestoes the declarations hover as questions, the answers like the steps we take, like the city we come to know as we walk around it, never entirely conclusions but rather invitations to further explorations.
My paintings explore the boundaries within the public sphere of Philadelphia between the "seen" and "unseen."
My work focuses on the decay of the human body as a result of abuse and social neglect.
I am depicting the socially marginalized in Philadelphia (addicts, vagrants, homeless, etc.) and how their social "invisibility" blurs the boundaries of citizenship and humanity.
I am keenly aware of boundaries and how they allow passage of some things (air, water, wind, birds) and keep other things separated (money, schools, regulations).
This small poem is a meditation on the things that flow through and the things that are kept separate when we consider Philadelphia's boundaries.
"The Therapeutic Edgelands" is a slow, analog social media that encourages creative play in the everyday ecologies that hold us.
Each issue includes reader artwork and several "invitations" that encourage connection with nearby wilds, creative making, and a slower, circular sense of time.
This project encourages border crossings between the sensuous ecologies that hold us and our imaginations.
Together, we climb down the creek embankments between dreams and embattled national borders.
I have sent in a set of four zines that represent a year in the edgelands. A year in the edgelands includes artworks and writing by:
Ow'labi Aboyade, Anna Sysling, Masimba Hwati, Lauren Rossi, Alyssa Storrs, Madeline October, Aiko Fukuchi, Emmy Bright, Megan Major, Maddox-Julien Slide, Ana Hansa-Ogren, Genevieve Mihalko, Kaleigh Wilder, Lisa Harres, Ingeborg Wie Henriksen and Svenja Wolff, Meg Heeres, Chis Billias, Niklas Liguori, Erin Smart, Beau, Robin Jourdan, Martha Christensen Demerly, Sarah Mark, William Heath, Rev. Deb Hansen, Zara Teicher, Megan Jalynski, Daniel Favi Demaggio, Julia Sosin, Rafi Kopacz
"The Therapeutic Edgelands" is based on Anishinaabe land in so-called Warren, Michigan, a suburban edgeland of Waawiyatanong (Detroit, Michigan). Contributors live throughout the Northern Hemisphere of this Earth.
I took this picture of two of my friends while we were on a walk for Dori's senior project (she is the girl on the left).
The whole walk was a really powerful experience for all of us, as we were passing through neighborhoods in West Philly that were very different than the suburban ones that we were used to.
We ended the walk on the Cobbs Creek trail and spent something like 5 minutes just gazing up at the bridge, a mark of humanity's touch within a peaceful nature space in the city.
These aren't Philadelphia: they are the meadowlands around Newark Bay and Newark Airport.
But they are very much concerned with the interconnectedness of the pockets of nature and the dense human presence in these areas, especially at the perimeters of the city.
These photographs document several points along our walk from Pier 68 to the Philadelphia International Airport.
Looking at a map of the whole city, the border along this section is formed by the Delaware River.
The practical border, though, is formed by highways, rail lines, and access roads which block walkers from hugging the riverbank.
That is just as well, because it's not by coincidence that these forms of "hard infrastructure" are encountered exactly where they are: at the margins of the city.
Though the ostensible border is a natural feature, these human-made markers tell us far more about our relationships with what lies both within the city and outside of it.
The third photograph captures the former short-term parking lot at the airport being (re)colonized by nature, the "stop" signs now signifying something very different.
Part of the delight of the walk was getting the opportunity to engage with what we usually push out of attention, but which nevertheless underlies our experience of the city (in our environment, in our consumption, and in our travels).
I hope these pictures give a sense of some of the surprises and beauty I encountered.
That day was about the third week after my wife and I arrived in this city of Philadelphia. Before that, we were in Beijing, thousands of miles away.
I knew almost nothing about this city and was still in jet lag and culture shock.
Walking Around Philadelphia is the best way to see this city.
Pic#3: As the best teammates of the day, we were really curious about things.
The following is the text in my handmade book, "What's Stopping You," which is about perceived boundaries and inner limitations:
"Many years ago, I saw an art installation at the Franklin Institute. The artist had constructed a room-sized corral.
It wasn't more than a few inches high.
Six inches, maybe, at most.
Inside its enclosure, the artist had let loose an ant then traced its meanderings on the floor with a pencil. The resultant drawing wandered about in no discernible pattern except for a repeated circling of the perimeter: a graphite trail of the ant's attempts to find an escape.
That ant didn't realize that if it only scaled the wall a tiny bit, it could climb over and escape.
I remember that ant today, as I watch my mind circling within fretful and fruitless thought.
And I admit that after a lifetime of years
I, too, have yet to escape the walls of illusion that contain me."
My abstract landscape paintings are informed by nature and the local walks my family and I take in wooded areas together.
These walks became very important and frequent during the beginning of Covid.
They were our time to reflect, to be together and to take respite; therefore I am interested in conveying a feeling in my work and using these memories and experiences as inspiration.
This work is made using mixed media. By exploring layering, mark making and color choices, I hint on paths we have walked, bodies of water we have stood at the edge of, colors we have enjoyed and quiet and stillness we have stood in.
Even though we live here in Philadelphia. we are lucky enough to have beautiful wooded areas to explore very close to our home.
I grew up in the Northeastern part of the state in a wooded area and it was always my intention to have my children enjoy and love nature as much as I do. I feel "at home" in nature and always have.
Here in Manayunk, there really are no borders to us, as we see ourselves living in a city but having the natural world at our fingertips as well. We feel like we have the best of both worlds living in this location and allowing our children to experience both.
My photos are snapshots of a few of the many amazing treasures of Philadelphia hidden in plain view.
When I wander around Philadelphia, I always think of a quote by scientist Edward O. Wilson. He said, "A lifetime can be spent in a Magellanic voyage around the trunk of a single tree."
Philadelphia is my tree.
Walking around the city's edge in Northwest Philadelphia led us to a collage of environs varying greatly in different levels of comfort.
This ranged from forest trails along Cobbs Creek to neglected sidewalks along public land being redeveloped as an expanded private golf course to vast paved landscapes that elevate the passage and service of vehicles above all else.
All of this boils down to reflect what and who are valued along the edges of the city, and it is an inequitable, lopsided landscape we're left with where we do little to provide for affordable, sustainable, or social spaces along our fringes, despite the inherent beauty lying underneath or just beyond what we've carved up for privatized and motorized usage.
I love the view of Parkway from the Art Museum. It is the contrast between the calm of the museum and the excitement of the city that works so well.
The Camden side of Philly, including Petty Island, Pyne Point and an area called Biedman. I actually saw a huge deer along the water!
The most interesting thing to note about these pictures of boundaries (and all of those I encountered along the perimeter) was that they were not only the boundaries of Philadelphia but also a boundary of whatever lies on the other side.
My second and third photos seem to be taken in forests, with a few small urban/industrial pieces sprinkled in for good measure.
This is indicative of the walk around Philadelphia, which shows a combination of the typical urban landscapes you might associate with a city as well as the ecosystems that lie beyond, which have a less traditional association.
Each drawing I submitted represents expressions about perimeters, borders and boundaries along the city of Philadelphia in different ways.
The drawings consist of North Philly Mansions, Big buck of the woods representing suburban areas and the Independent Farm of Lehigh Valley.
They are all 11 x 14" and the media used is marker and colored pencil.
Pandemic bike rides to deserted places. Border Crossing / Customs check-point, Lanier Ave.
During the past few years, so many of us have taken up walking as a way to escape the confinement of being indoors. As a result, we've rediscovered the beauty and diversity of the natural environment.
Even in my own neighborhood, there are so many wonderful trails that forced me to contemplate the relationships been man-made and natural landscapes, transitions between the seasons, and my own existence as part of the natural world
- all boundaries between different aspects of existence. These two images are from walks near bodies of water, which often form borders between jurisdictions.
Reservoir Trail is a view along the rim of the old reservoir along Port Royal Avenue in Upper Roxborough (right around the corner from the Schuylkill Center).
While there are great views of the water from the trail, the path itself was intriguing with its play of light and shadow, paved surfaces and fences against trees and undergrowth, and the feeling of being among wild creatures.
Wissahickon Retreat shows the entrance to the Kelpius Cave on a hillside along Wissahickon Creek, a favorite destination of hikers and local historians.
Here, the juxtaposition of the woods and human intervention strikes us at a most basic level.
The "cave", a rudimentary structure built by a cult of mystics, evokes humankind's first intrusions into the world of nature and still inspires mystical contemplation.
All of these images are hand painted on silk. I traced and painted everything directly onto a blank sheet of fabric.
The first image is a 6 foot tall painting I made of the Philadelphia Transit Company map, which includes all of the trolley and bus routes in the transit system in 1960, before before SEPTA took over.
The months-long careful tracing felt like a walk up and down every street, through every park and cemetery, and along all the waterways in the city.
This piece is ink marker on paper and approximately 13 " x 16" and depicts a human walk on the edge between an urban area and a natural space, just like the Schuylkill Center!
Francis, Noah, and Nate Raven
"A Corner of the Border"
This is a project that the three of us (ages 8, 12, and 45) made about the border of Philadelphia. We walked/drove to six different sites in the Northwest corner of Philadelphia and wrote poems/made images about these sites. It was great fun! Thanks so much for the opportunity.
I explore the nature of order and the order of nature through the drawing of city and forest. Though their forms differ, the energies, tumult and conflicts are the same.
Perimeters, borders and boundaries dissolve in their vast numbers and density. I wander amongst both seeking common ground.
My sculptures convey my comments on ecological destruction and renewal; they present the value of nature's provision of trees, as they are the source for human shelter, oxygen,
avian refuge, air pollution mitigation, carbon capture, limitation of soil erosion and city cooling via the arboreal canopy.
These are by-products of photosynthesis: climate restoration through the normal life cycle of trees.
The urban environment is losing this vital support of the community.
No matter how remote you may feel you are as you travel the city perimeter, constant reminders of those who have gone before serve to confirm that others have preceded you.
This work is inspired by the local flora and fauna in Philadelphia.
I recently moved to Rittenhouse Square and have been captivated by all the lovely flowers in the park and along the Schuylkill River Trail.
Cyanotype has a history of being used for scientific documentation. However, I am using it to create artistic compositions.
These are hand-coated cyanotypes on 100% recycled watercolor paper. These cyanotypes are created to be environmentally conscious as well as beautiful.
Find me on Instagram @hhalleeyy and @cyanotpyeseaon.
This work is inspired by the local flora and fauna in Philadelphia.
I recently moved to Rittenhouse Square and have been captivated by all the lovely flowers in the park and along the Schuylkill River Trail.
Cyanotype has a history of being used for scientific documentation. However, I am using it to create artistic compositions.
These are hand-coated cyanotypes on 100% recycled watercolor paper. These cyanotypes are created to be environmentally concious as well as beautiful.
Find me on instagram @hhalleeyy and @cyanotpyeseaon.
I have enjoyed photographing Philadelphia's perimeter because it has allowed me to look more closely at landscapes I would have otherwise ignored.
Additionally, I have been able to make connections with my fellow explorers who share an interest in diving deep into unknown spaces.
My work (and these images in particular) deal with frames within frames, stepping out of one place and into a new space, and a new time.
All three of these images locate the viewer within an architectural structure, situated within nature, exploring ideas of where nature starts and where it ends.
While the work is drawn from the observed, the paintings move into marks and passages that allude to the unseen: wind, air, and movement.
Here are moments of joy that I encountered while walking the perimeter of Philadelphia.
As it happened, I walked two segments of the city in September and October 2021, each time a week after the death of a beloved pet. (Yes, my elderly cats died within 3 weeks of each other!)
I almost backed out of my commitment to go on each walk segment after these losses, but something in me told me it was what I needed.
I was ultimately so grateful to explore new-to-me edges of the city with old and new friends, to move my body, and to see joy in the world in the midst of grief.
Universally, COVID controlled everyone's life; we each tried to manage in new and challenging ways.
New borders were created and wearing masks (being annoyed by those masks and grateful for them at the same time) resonated a lot of fear in many people.
When I saw the call for submissions about boundaries, I thought of all of the people who had previously worked in the city and who switched to working from home on Zoom.
These two Zoom paintings are pen and ink with watercolor and are meant to demonstrate the "boxes" we saw ourselves in for the last two years.
Mostly focusing on bottles and their components, these images represent my attempts to condense areas of debris into a compact arrangements, to various aims.
Many of these arrangements are set against walls, vegetation, or fencing (as in these images) for the practical purpose of making the initial bottle placement a sturdy backing to keep it vertical; it also creates a more visually interesting and complex image.
I question what people think when they see the disarray of accumulated trash in a parking lot, on undeveloped property, or on the side of a railway station, and if they even pay attention to the litter at all.
The interconnected forces that dictate the trash's accumulation and removal (or lack thereof) along with a curiosity for an arrangement's eventual appearance are driving forces in my desire to create and share these images.
The images were taken near my home in the Wissahickon neighborhood of Philadelphia.
I often walk extensively when it's warm out, and I really love how in this part of the city, you can step over some boundary and feel as though you've left the city altogether.
These photos depict some of those clearly defined yet inconspicuous borders. Straying from the paved path toward the tree line takes you to train tracks and the river.
These paintings are what I like to call "Hoodscapes." They capture the various urban landscapes throughout the Philadelphia area.
I wanted to also pay attention to the nostalgia of Philadelphia neighborhoods. I wanted to think about the natural life and flora and fauna that is embedded in our urban landscape.
The architecture, shot row homes and lots create visual characteristics. I like my landscapes to have a type of personification. I don't want ignore that within our city there is nature as well as habitats and ecosystems.
I am also aware of how land, county lines, anti-Blackness and redlining have been tools in shaping many of the areas where we live today.
"Between a Rock"
This is a large watercolor painting of an area where the road is being expanded. There were trees lining the road forming a natural boundary and protecting nature from our high speed world.
The trees were removed. Boundaries were crossed. The painting is titled "Confrontation." A fawn has crossed the highway and stares at the viewer of the painting while other deer look on.
We must do more to protect and preserve nature.
I create a range of work that is inspired by my joy, curiosity and awe of nature.
I collect my materials on walks exploring areas of Philadelphia (the Delaware River Trail, Schuylkill River Trail, Bartram's Garden, Penn Treaty Park, Valley Forge, Queen Village, Bella Vista, Little Saigon, Society Hill, Grays Ferry, Point Breeze, Forgotten Bottom, etc.).
The "Delaware Path Quilt - RedbudDots" piece was created using materials from a walk involving that location. The composition was inspired by a path intersection.
My hope is to encourage viewers to see and consider the natural world in a new way.
These images are focused on the perimeter of Center City with the Schuylkill River Trail, combining the natural water with man-made boundaries of rails, walks and buildings.
Joe Kobsar and Ellen Wise
During the past few years, so many of us have taken up walking as a way to escape the confinement of being indoors. As a result, we've rediscovered the beauty and diversity of the natural environment.
Even in my own neighborhood, there are so many wonderful trails that forced me to contemplate the relationships between man-made and natural landscapes, the transitions between the seasons, and my own existence as part of the natural world - all boundaries between different aspects of existence. These two images are from walks near bodies of water, which often form borders between jurisdictions.
The Reservoir Trail is a view along the rim of the old reservoir along Port Royal Avenue in Upper Roxborough (right around the corner from the Schuylkill Center). While there are great views of the water from the trail, the path itself was intriguing with its play of light and shadow, paved surfaces and fences against trees and undergrowth, as well as the feeling of being among wild creatures.
"The Walkabout Talk About Stick Project - Schuylkill River Highway and Flyway"
"The Walkabout Talk About Stick Project" is a community engagement forum involving a collection of walking sticks found by the artist in Lenapehoking (Land of the Lenape) of eastern Pennsylvania.
Each stick has been illustrated with a painting that tells an environmental story, memory, or message that the artist has learned from hiking the land during her 44 year-long habitation of the area.
Knowing full well that boundaries in nature are somewhat ambiguous and because nature belongs to its community and its community to it, these sticks not only belong to the land and the artist but to everyone and everything living in our community.
With this in mind, during Earth Month (April) 2023, each stick will be placed for others to use at a local trailhead located near the illustrated story depicted upon the stick.
Anyone who encounters a stick is invited to read about its story (accessing it via a website address provided on the stick) and then take their own journey with it.
Community members are encouraged to sign the stick and add to the project, if they like, in the following way:
When you come upon one of 12 sticks placed at area trailheads, please, take it for a hike! At the end of your hike, sign it and leave it on the trail wherever you like for the next person.
Then, if you wish, share an inspiration realized on your journey. Your "story" (digital submissions only please) can be in the form of a photograph taken on the hike, an artwork, poem, song or dance inspired by the hike, and/or simply thoughts and comments in response to the hike. These submissions can be emailed to: email@example.com.
The submissions will be added to "The Walkabout Talk About Stick Project" page at Joliechylackstudio.com. Here, all may access and engage.
As with Aboriginal walkabouts (periods where teenaged Australian natives walk solo into the outback to discover and learn more about themselves and their environments), the goal of the project is to provoke thought about our place in the world, specifically our local environment; to not only celebrate our living world but also to generate conversation about the realities (positive and negative) that exist in rural and urban environments where we need to walk together, in an effort to consider what we can do next.
Artwork Statement for "Schuylkill River Highway and Flyway":
The ribbon of blue spiraling down this walking stick symbolizes nature's geographic route for the passage of its watershed contents, from the headwaters of the Schuylkill River that feed into the Delaware River to (eventually) the Delaware Bay that enters into the Atlantic Ocean. This aqueous ribbon stands for both a highway and a flyway for the people and animals that navigate within the river or above it on a daily basis. It also represents those that use it to migrate seasonally, to and from the region.
Today wildlife such as water boatmen, brown trout, and an occasional river otter grace the Schuylkill River in our area of southeastern PA. Great blue herons, kingfishers and the magnificent return of bald eagles have been witnessed in this special corridor as well. In the past, this river has been subjected to ample pollution resulting from a 400-year history of industrialization occurring on its banks. More recently, the Schuylkill River has been the object of ongoing conservation and restoration. These successful efforts have been championed by several heroic watershed partners and have led to the subsequent healing of this watershed. Today the Schuylkill River is an award-winning environmental success story, showing that community awareness can lead to action and ultimately restoration of one of our most essential natural resources. Such restoration strengthens the river itself, the broader ecological web, and the community of which we are all a part.
"Walk Around Philadelphia @ Graffiti Pier"
"Postcards from the Edge"
These sketches reflect the experiences of a group of Philly residents as they walked the perimeter of the city over the course of several months.
Theirs was a journey of discovery and newfound appreciation for the complexities of the edges of a large and diverse metropolis.
My artistic practice is rooted in the tension between holding on and letting go, of memorialization and detachment.
A self-proclaimed "doula of discarded things," I walk the perimeters of Philadelphia neighborhoods and mountain trails in search of materials to repurpose.
In the process of transforming both trash and sentimental scraps, I examine the borders of what we deem worth keeping and what we throw away and deconstruct the boundaries between beauty and debris.
My landscapes also transmit the boundaries of my lived experience, enabling me to explore places I've yet to visit, such as the California desert captured in "Canyon Climb" (2022).
I hope my work inspires people to dismantle boundaries around possessions (how much of what we consume can be creatively reused?) and places.
Through art and our imaginations, there is a boundless natural world to explore.
My images hopefully incite the act of looking, seeking, and wandering.
I am a trail runner and spend a lot of time in Pennypack park as well as other forests.
These adventures are both research and motivational journeys that help me in countless ways.
Get outside and move forward.
To walk along the space between here and there, now and then, or expectation and outcome is to spend time with things that we miss so often, we must be trying to ignore them.
These images are little moments of acknowledgment.
Some people walk along a path by pine cones. Can pine cones hope? For a chance to drop something into the soil, to become a new tree, to be ignored long enough to steal a little space for themselves?
They can't do this just anywhere, but in the space between here and elsewhere, they have a chance to determine their fate on their own slow, stubborn, hopeful timeline.
My concept draws from previous works including two at SCEE: interactive slippers for WetLab and a zine I produced as a LandLab resident.
It also draws on 2 years of training in herbal medicine with Attic Apothecary.
My hope is to use pine needles from the pine grove, and introduce (to participants) both therapeutic and ecologically-harmonious possibilities associated with plant-based foot soaks.
This work is a historical record of my ancestor’s immigration by ocean vessel to the United States arriving at the port city of Philadelphia in 1906.
Borders and boundaries in this case represent thresholds intended to be crossed over in pursuit of new opportunities and a new life.
Touched Ancestral Land, 2021,
Installation made of repurposed garments, binding tape, map pins,
12' high x 22' wide
The fiber map installation depicts the North Atlantic Ocean, North Sea and Baltic Sea. The orange line represents my grandfather’s ocean voyage, sailing from Lithuania to the port of Philadelphia in 1906.
It is a visual record of his immigration by ocean vessel from Europe to the United States. The left end of the orange tape line marks the city of Philadelphia, the right end of the orange tape represents the coast of Lithuania.
William Still published the Underground Railroad, A Record of Facts, Authentic Narratives & Letters, in 1871.
I've used this book as part of my research for my walks following the Underground Railroad from Maryland to Canada. In the book, I've been fascinated by one particular story and illustration documenting the "Arrival of Fifteen from Norfolk, Virginia."
The illustration is titled "Heavy Weights - Arrival of a Party at League Island." In the illustration, three carriages await onshore about July 4, 1856, during a night that was reported as quiet as a "country graveyard."
Three men are seen pulling and pushing a woman from the schooner onto the banks of League Island, the present day Philadelphia Naval Yard.
In the story, the woman is body shamed despite having no less of a desire to be free than anyone else.
She and the other passengers survived the harrowing journey aboard the Chesapeake Schooner that was searched twice by patrollers before leaving southern waters and being forced in close tight quarters underneath well-fitting oil-cloth.
The area where the schooner landed is on the border of Philadelphia near Girard Point, on the Schuylkill River, at the entrance of the Delaware River.
Twenty-sixth street is the nearest roadway to the river publicly accessible. The Back Channel, shown in the 1855 map of League Island, was filled in after the Naval Yard took control of the area in 1871.
Changes to the landscape along the Schuylkill River closest to the Back Channel are still occurring today. What remains present today is the steepness of the river bank along the Back Channel in current photo.
My artistic expression is all about perimeters. Perimeters can sometimes be geographic boundaries and other times be perimeters of time. A nature or landscape photographer is always bound by perimeters.
Kevin Isaiah Brown
The image is called "Emotional roller coaster" and it is depicting a person dealing with emotions.
I'd like to explore the topic even further and create worlds that express boundaries, urban landscapes and spaces of Philly.
In the summer,
Vine covered perimeters.
From my window
Bordered by hope.
These cyanotypes were created with plants collected from empty lots around Philadelphia in December 2022. They invite an appreciation of natural beauty even in the most unlikely urban landscapes.
This piece is from a series of totems that arose organically as I created remix from natural objects (i.e. wood, bark, feathers, rocks, glass) that have called to me during my restorative walks with my dog across my East Mt. Airy neighborhood and across the glorious Wissahickon woods.
I arrange objects from my life and my family's life including shells, crystals, rocks, ribbons, and, fabric scraps and together, I intuitively create spirit through beauty and art.
I think of these works as totem and remix because they transgress any boundaries and separation between the natural, human, and spirit worlds.
Making these works has been deeply healing to me and these totems bring messages of peace, love, and unity in an inner and outer world filled with turmoil.
What do you hear, notice, and feel?
My work relies inextricably on nature—as prompt, metaphor, mimetic model, and source.
My sculptures marry elements of nature with remnants of human life, creating a material intersection that obscures my hand as the artist.
In this liminal space, the dividing line between self and nature, nature and culture, culture and self, becomes shaky and blurred.
The tensile makeups of our relationships and communities are mirrored in the quiet rigging of our own psyches, which, in turn, we see both echoed and called into question by innumerable systems and adaptations of the natural world that surrounds us.
How do these spaces interact and overlap while also remaining self-intact? What internal boundaries must be cultivated when external boundaries are lacking? How do we compensate for loss, and compartmentalize that which we cannot control?
My practice considers the connection between the wilderness of nature and the wilderness of the mind. It invites deepened understandings of how grief, trauma, and unmet needs can push us toward the outskirts of shared society—to a metaphorical wood’s edge—where our minds and emotional organs create new ecosystems in order to cope with and process new fathoms of feeling.
This piece uses photography and fiber processes to reflect on experiences along the Delaware River, the southwestern perimeter of Philadelphia.
The rhythms of the pieces–in the separated fragments and in the stitches–aim to invoke the rhythm of steps and breaths as we move through our shared city spaces.
In my artwork, I explore the dynamic between built-spaces and elements of wilderness growing into them.
These three images contain human-constructed materials that are blending with uncontrollable natural elements.
Inert traces of human experiences combine with living plants and water, reminding us of the interconnectedness of life within these shared spaces.
Image: “Toy Boat 8/24/2022”; Photograph embedded in Handmade Paper; 9”x9”; 2022
Gritty and beautiful -- Photos taken on city streets while walking
The drawing /painting is an example of the historic homes in Roxborough /Wissahickon.
Owl Light of Hartwell Lane ~ the trails and shadows at this entrance to the Wissahickon illuminated the magic
Łukasz Horbów is a visual artist born in 1995. His artistic practice oscillates around sound, spatial activities and poetry.
His understanding of the world is based on the self-portrait vision of an alienated man realizing the drama of the situation he is in and understanding it, enforcing such behavior to secure his survival.
Graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw and founder of Self-House Residency.
Language Boundaries expresses the diversity of languages in Philadelphia that sometimes create stumbling blocks for city-dwellers.
I've been focused on landscapes as subjects for the past few years.These digital drawings are based on photographs I took in 2019 on the way to Bartram’s garden on my bike.
I remember feeling so moved by how lusciously overgrown the land was surrounding these warehouses close to the perimeter of the park.
Abandoned spaces have always really interested me. This overgrown place overflowing with trash in contrast to the meticulously cared for garden was striking enough that it came to mind instantly when I read about this show’s theme.
Plein-air watercolor painting (7x10 inches) of the Delaware River beach just below the Neshaminy Creek in Neshaminy State Park.
Mark P Dilks
The border is a membrane, the dividing line finite. A division supplies a gradient, like a horizon.
Landscapes, puddles, screens and woven networks have fascinated me and generated research, theory and material in my practice.
Formally, the breakdown and flattening of multiple situations, spaces and the distilling of time interests me. The smear between distinct areas, the permeable smudge, mixes and mingles, to create new possibilities.
“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” -L. Cohen
These three images provide a network of references about global borders, longing, private property, the broken edge, communion, water’s powerful current trends, and the fragile mystery of the painted line.
In this arrangement, Fence (Winking at a Global Crisis, A), 2014, is on the bottom. IDA (Winking at a Global Crisis, B), 2021, sits on Fence’s top edge, 3 inches from the left corner. And Landscape (Winking at a Global Crisis, C), 2014, 3 inches above and five inches to the right.
Each painting stands in for an orifice in the abstract embodied comic face they form.
IDA and Landscape are each blinking eyes, equipped with eyelids like watery curtains reflecting on the day’s ebb and flow.
Landscape is divided in two by a horizon line. IDA contains a fence overcome by a flood. Fence is a slice of life with a hole in it.
The hole is the infinity of hope, the one that got away, the possibility of creation, the blank canvas and the new beginning.
The raw linen “hole” is the “mouth” of this caricature. An open bird beak singing a song, regurgitating nutrients, and fighting for air.
The raw linen is bittersweet. It embodies the optimism of creativity within the pessimism of materialism and generative blockage as borders blend and precarity increases.
Here, we see a river flowing through pedestrian partitions, social supports, and civil infrastructures. We see a landscape at night, full of mystery, with day on the horizon.
We see a fence opening, perhaps never whole, a border for passage with migration inevitable. We see creation, mixtures and flickers of hope.
Mark Stephen Brown
In exploring Philadelphia's perimeter, I discovered neglect and abandonment, but also signs of life, potential, and beauty.
Even when there appears to be a barrier present, or abandonment and disregard seem to be overtaking, there is a presence... a yearning for hope, freedom, and something better.
From a current project "The Poetry of Urban Plants."
This series consists of ongoing observations of the resiliency and adaptability of urban weeds and plants on the edge of bordering neighborhoods in Philadelphia.
This artwork documents the physical death toll of the imagined border between “nature” and “civilization.”
Huge glass windows are an extremely popular architectural choice and are often spoken of as a gateway to the other or the exterior.
Birdstrikes are an immediate challenge to this modernist way of thinking that fails to recognize our own embeddedness in the natural world.
This refrigerator once held birds that were killed by the Temple School of Art and Architecture building and the moving picture frame shows them for id purposes (mostly common yellowthroats, ruby-crowned kinglets, and ovenbirds).
The bird corpses have since been sent to the academy of natural science as part of their collection project, but the ambiguity of this knowledge is integral to the functioning of the piece as viewers will confront the possibility of corpses in a locked container.
This photo was taken just across the river from Manayunk on the Cynwyd Heritage Trail.
It is outside the border of my neighborhood, the boundary formed by wild nature between human spaces.
Framed by the edge of the film itself, an overgrown hedgerow blocks the view of the city behind it, its presence implied only by the utility lines visible in the top third of the scene.
The focal point is created by that border between shadow and light, a metaphor onto which each view might project their own unique meaning.
I especially love observing the contrasts of walking through a dense residential neighborhood and literally crossing the street into nature - almost a trick of the mind that you have entered a deep forest vortex.
I live at the edge of Philadelphia, and took this photo in and near my home around Cobbs Creek.
I used a cutout of a fungi shape as a lens through which to notice decay and transformation around my home and the park.
Decay is at the edge of life and death, and I wanted to reflect on Anna Tsing's "On Noticing" essay about mushrooms at the end (edge) of the world.
Fall in Valley Green; The intertwining of trees and leaves-vibriant colors, dancing vines. It is hard to believe that such a spot resides at the edge of our City.
The textiles and fibers shown in these images were all hand dyed with natural materials collected on walks in Philadelphia.
Some of the most surprising colors are hidden in plant material that is is otherwise thought to be a nuisance, a weed, garden waste, or an invasive species--
these I keep my eye out for when walking around the neighborhood on on the edge of the woods and exploring green spaces.
The unkept, forgotten spaces where sidewalks meet the edge of the regional rail or a pedestrian overpass--these are filled with natural color treasures.
I wander, taking the scenic less travelled pathways to run an errand and delight in the nature I encounter along the way.
I collect stories of places and seasons as I pick up stalks leftover after maintenance on the side of the road, or gather the most beautiful leaves leaving ecoprints on the sidewalk--
and then I bring them home to my dye pot to see what colors they might hold.
Woven textile. Fibers include reclaimed cotton fabric yarn, GOTS certified organic merino, vintage old new stock boucle wool and mercerized cotton.
Dye plants include: Broken Japanese knotweed stalks collected from pharmacy parking lot next to the Chestnut Hill West line closest to Richard Allen Lane station;
goldenrod from next to Carpenter Station, after discovering a secret garden and an alleyway named for a neighbor; elm bark from a fallen branch on the edge of the Cresheim Trail in the middle of Cresheim Road.
The image depicts a portal in which vines have consumed and obstructed a man made structure.
The gate at the front of the portal is opened, allowing nature to encroach and take over civilization.
It is my hope that we not only allow nature to blur into our cities again, but encourage it.
My works depict narrow, scenic situations that each consist of a few starkly separated items.
I use the idea of “perimeter” to express small designations of space, each large enough for only a few things to be occurring inside them.
These limited areas are inspired by the spaces of the yards I pass by when walking through my Philadelphia suburb.
What I see each day—bushes, dogs being walked, outdoor grills—are objects and events that visually accent the walks I take, and which as a whole, form the spaces of each particular day.
The edges of the woods where the vines wrap around the trees and run wild are symbols of the survival of the plants and trees along highways and parks.
I call my style deco Impressionism because it looks like a dream with an outline.
12x24; pop art inspired.
inocut print in water soluble ink on lightweight printmaking paper. The angel is inspired by one that adorns a grave in Mount Moriah Cemetery on the Philadelphia side.
I think this image encapsulates many different kinds of borders and boundaries.
There is the fact that the cemetery itself is split between two places, the balance of shadow and light - here depicted through ink and negative space and of course the boundary between life and death.
I have walked through this cemetery many times and love to see the modes of order and chaos change throughout the seasons as the foliage takes over and then recedes to conceal and then reveal these graves like a tide that ebbs and flows.
My art acknowledges interconnectedness in nature, physically and spiritually.
The three drawings submitted for Walking The Edge - "Worlds Without End," "Family Tree," and "All Will Be One" - suggest that there are no borders or boundaries in the natural world.
Crows inhabit these images as both natural residents living on the edge, close to human populations, symbols of an edge between human and non human, and mythological beings said to be carriers of the human spirit to another place.
They are curious, querulous, protective, and social. Their black color strikes a serious note in the riot of late afternoon yellows and oranges and bright green leakage
Creeks — we tame and ignore them (bridges, culverts) or laud and enjoy them (parks, trails). But on the border, away from those typical encounters, even a humble creek like the Poquessing can be a challenge of wildness.
Oil on board, 12" x 16"
At this location in the Schuylkill River one can see how the river connects the city to the hinterland, by drawing in nature, Fairmount Park etc., along its edges.
The waterfall, in a dramatic display of raw energy, separates tidal from non-tidal waters, showing how the city thrives at the boundary of ocean and continent.
RowanCreek - Valerie Pantalone
Sally Benton Ð The product of a 'Plein Aire' painting workshop in August, this painting depicts a stone bridge leading to the iconic Valley Green Inn, the Wissahickion Creek and it's surrounding trails.
When I think of the word “boundary” the first thing that comes to mind is the divide between wild and urban. Humans set boundaries with the land.
Some land remains untouched, while some is developed. Other pieces of land that are allowed to be one thing and one thing only, like a farm, a subdivision, a skyscraper.
As someone who grew up in rural Pennsylvania but now lives in the heart of Philadelphia, I’m constantly thinking about how wild space and urban space break down and intermingle.
The boundaries start to fade away when I see an opossum wandering the cement wall of my back-patio or a flock of sparrows eating at my bird-feeder on a chilly January morning.
In my work, I depict and advocate for plants and animals that belong to the wilds of Pennsylvania but also call suburban and urban corners of the state home.
Letting the natural world take precedence in our urban spaces is very important. I started a container garden this past summer with the hope of supporting pollinators (who are on the decline globally) and growing food.
Each pot or raised bed became its own ecosystem that otherwise would not have existed without the soil and seeds I bought. Surrounded by cement walls, my abundant garden grew.
I broke down the boundary of wild and urban, which is depicted in the three works included in my submission.
With my work, I hope to increase awareness about the natural world around us in hopes that when I leave this world, the plants and animals I depict exist long after me.
The river as perimeter is a changing landscape where use, abandonment, function and open space exist as a reflection of Philadelphia’s past and present.
This painting depicts an intersection between industrial Philadelphia and Wissahickon park.
If one followed the train tracks and wires stretching into the distance, they would be guided back into the city. Entering into the surrounding greenery, one could lose themselves amongst the trees.
Although attempts had been made to hold back plant growth along the tracks with fences and concrete deposits, nature was still retaking the landscape – vines growing around the buildings and stretching up the poles of the empty billboard.
This scene made me think about the relationship between man-made spaces and natural areas.
The boundaries between nature and urban areas are fluid, and despite our attempts to control and contain nature, it is persistent and will recover and reclaim.
Stephanie Van Riet and Kate Flake
"The Space Between Us" is a collaborative artist book by myself and Kate Flake. It uses a dos-a-dos book form to extends from the center from either side, and can be displayed in many formations.
The pages document a twenty mile stretch along the Schuylkill River near Philadelphia, PA.
For some time, Kate and I had been talking about collaborating on a project together, but we wished we lived closer to each other to make it easier to work on it.
We realized that where we each lived was connected by the Schuykill River, and in December 2022 we each set out from different directions (Kate walking from King of Prussia, PA and Stephanie walking from Center City, Philadelphia) to meet in the middle.
In our solitary 10 miles of walking to meet the other, we recorded what we were seeing to fill in the space for the other and explored how the river was used along the route for travel, recreation, connection, and industrial purposes.
The two extended accordions twist and turn similar to the pattern of a river, and represent each artists' visual representation of their observations from their route.
Original prints were created using screen printing and woodblock techniques on Arches BFK paper. The book is an edition of 8, and comes in a slipcase. It stands about 5 inches high, and can be stretched to span over 6ft.
Winter Solstice sunset at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge.
I am interested in the struggle of natural life around me here in Roxborough.
I walk alone on the edges, early morning, evenings - watching for reflections, shadows of places in nature when no one is around... finding lost worlds, evidence of the multiverse
Black women in Philadelphia have an ancestral connection to the Lene Lenepe Indian land we live on. Woods & trails represented abolition but were also places to fear capture & death.
Discrimination marking where we could have recreation were barriers to enjoying places our fore parents paid taxes to maintain from post enslavement to the 1960’s. Attitudes about where we “belong” outdoors persist.
In the spirit of freedom fighter Harriet Tubman, whose H we wear, these three photos represent how GirlTrek.org in Philly breaks the negative legacy of the historical boundaries mentioned here for present & future generations.
Why? We are worth improved physical, mental & emotional health that simply comes from individual & collective daily green space Walking Around Philadelphia.
I have always been fascinated by the carcasses of inanimate objects. One of my all time favorite aspects of WAP is trekking off grid and running into these hidden treasures.
It evokes wonder and storytelling that brings together participants in opening their imaginations and knowledge base.
These images were taken during the Walk Around Philadelphia trek I did in fall 2020 with a group of teen homeschoolers that I work with at Natural Creativity in Germantown.
We had a wonderful time traversing the 100 mile border over 15 days. We walked through natural, industrial, commercial, and residential landscapes.
Many of my works were inspired by my experience of traveling and by the beauty I see in road landscapes and urban elements, so walking, traveling, exploring new areas, city and nature landscapes are the topic that are very close to my heart.
My website: https://www.varvarart.com
"Falls Bridge, Last Crossing"
Vasiliki Argyris is a visual artist based in Philadelphia. Much of her work is an attempt to archive the emotionality, chaos, and beauty of Philadelphia.
This painting explores a different aspect of the relationship to her environment.
This painting explores Philadelphia's line between nature and cityscape, and the fluidity of that line from the perspective of the Falls Bridge in East Falls.
Oil and acrylic on canvas, 20x20, 2022
Veronica Bowlan & Andrew Christman
Way of Words is a collective of Germantown-based artists and poets that presents spontaneous pop-up poetry and art experiences in public spaces, museums, schools and curated events.
The collective uses operations of chance and found words and materials to inspire groups to spontaneously collaborate to create poetry and art together.
This triptych was initiated by Veronica Bowlan, who is home-bound due to health risks and Covid so can not bring her projects outside into public settings.
Crossing the boundary from indoors to outdoors, each of these panels was passed back and forth with visual artist Andrew Christman.
The subject of Bowlan's 3 short poems evoke the shifting and blurry boundaries between indoors/outdoors, imagination/observation, confinement/freedom, day/night, and urban landscapes/nature.
The healing power of nature, art and poetry has strengthened and sustained a collaborative connection between friends and community despite the boundaries imposed by disease and the pandemic.
The quilt is based on photos from walks I went on in Philly during the pandemic.
I was lucky to have a window seat on an early morning flight over our beautiful city on Dec 12th 2022. We cruised right over the Schuylkill Center, Roxborough, Strawberry Mansion, on over the rest of North Philadelphia, then a quick hop over the Delaware to South Jersey and then glided right into Philadelphia International Airport. When you're looking down from 5,000 above ground, while moving at 300 mph, all you have to orient yourself are borders like rivers, streets and boundaries made by light or its absence. The photos capture examples of these.
My photographs is an expression of how space is defined by both man made structures and nature. These designs are both visually aesthetic and functional for the audience and those who are part of the space.
My pieces take an abstract approach to the boundaries of Philadelphia.
Using bright, metallic colors that contrast with neutral Earth tones and hues; these works illustrate the interconnectedness between the natural and artificial boundaries of the city.
Installation and Opening
Walking the Edge Evening Rest Session on Friday, February 24th from 5:30pm to 7pm with food, herbal foot soaks and good company after a long day.
Walking the Edge Morning Send-off on Saturday, February 25th from 10am to 11am with breakfast and beverages.
Ways of Walking Book Discussion on Wednesday, March 1st from 6pm to 8pm with editor Ann De Forest and Curator JJ Tiziou.
Thursday Night Live – Walking the Edge Community Exhibition Discussion on Thursday, March 9th from 7pm to 8pm.
Closing Celebration on Saturday, April 1st from 1pm to 4pm with a Letterpress workshop from Soapbox Press.