October 12 - December 7, 2019

Flow into fall as Philadelphia Sculptors and Independence Seaport Museum combine forces to launch an international flotilla of imaginative floating art installations in the Museum’s boat basin. From October 12 - December 7, 2019, Flow artists will intrigue and delight the public with artworks festooning the waters with strange creations made from plastic water jugs, bamboo poles, living plants, and other exotic materials, some rescued from the banks of the Delaware. Complementing the Museum’s indoor River Alive! exhibit, Flow uses art to re-imagine the river as it floats in the actual river. A second collaboration with Philadelphia Sculptors, following the successful Artship Olympia in 2016, Flow continues the innovative use of art to provide new insights into other disciplines. With both a day and night presence, the exhibition will create a destination for the public long after the swan boats have sung their last songs.

A public opening reception is scheduled for October 12.

Participating Artists

The exhibition includes 10 artworks by 14 invited and juried artists from the U.S. and Canada. Passages Insolites, the edgy annual public art tour designed by EXMURO arts publics, and presented by the Ville de Québec, is contributing three artworks by Canadian artists Isabelle Demers and Fanny Mesnard; Jean-Yves Vigneau; and Giorgia Volpe.

Philadelphia artist Miguel Horn and New York artist Stephen Talasnik, have also been invited to contribute works to the show. Five additional artists/artist teams, have been selected by jurors Teresa Jaynes and Nato Thompson: Nancy Agati (Philadelphia,) Ligia Bouton and Matt Donovan (Amherst, MA,) Elizabeth Mackie (Frenchtown, NJ) and Kaitlyn Paston (Brooklyn, NY,) Grant McFarland (Minneapolis, MN) and Anna Van Voorhis (Boston, MA) and Simone Spicer (Wyncote, PA.)

Originally created for the Passages Insolites public art circuit in Québec City, the three Canadian installations bring their stories with them to their Philadelphia location. Water Flowers, by Jean-Yves Vigneau, uses artificial materials to suggest natural ones - steel rods reminiscent of both water lilies and cattails seem right at home amongst the plants growing in the wetlands habitats of the basin. Isabelle Demers and Fanny Mesnard’s Happy Castaways (pictured above) drifts further back into the basin, providing an isle of enchantment with fantasy animals cavorting in their artificial paradise. Giorgia Volpe, originally from Brazil, suspends paper canoes above the water for her work Migration Pathway, referencing her journey from one hemisphere to another.

Connections to the Southern Hemisphere continue through the works of two of the American artists. Miguel Horn’s large sculpture Abu is crafted from translucent acrylic sheets and honors his father, an immigrant from Venezuela. Unmoving in the water, it appears and disappears as the tides rise and fall. Stephen Talasnik’s Endurance is a series of floating bamboo structures inspired by the explorer Ernest Shackleton’s ship of the same name that was trapped by ice floes off Antarctica.

Simone Spicer’s Convergence, Igloo on the Water uses plastic water jugs to stand in for the ice blocks of an igloo that seems to be melting as it floats on the water. Elizabeth Mackie and Kaitlyn Paston’s Address the River, is a large bodiless dress standing guard over the river as the haunting soundtrack of a female voice emanates from nearby speakers. Evident Cycle – imprint & impact, by Nancy Agati, is a giant fingerprint made of found wood from the Delaware River that floats on the surface and moves with the cycles of currents and tides. Grant McFarland and Anna Van Voorhis’ Continuum is a floating outline of the Delaware filled with living plants. With Duck, Swan, Goose: New Decoys, New Forms, Ligia Bouton and Matt Donovan present a fictional view of waterfowl adapting to a polluted environment by mutating into forms made of plastic.

Additional events associated with the exhibition include a talk on November 21 by local artist Diane Burko on how the themes of Flow relate to her own work on climate change.

More information about Flow and the participating artists can be found here