Wilmer Wilson IV, performance detail from Channel, 2017. Photo by Allison McDaniel, courtesy of the artist.
Pew Fellows Andrea Clearfield (2016), David Scott Kessler (2015), and Wilmer Wilson IV (2017) have been awarded international artist residencies through the Center’s ongoing partnership with the Alliance of Artists Communities. These residencies are tentatively scheduled for the fall of 2021 and will be shifted as necessary according to recommended travel and safety protocols.
These Center-supported residencies provide Fellows with time and space for artistic development and the opportunity to expand their networks of creative professionals outside of Philadelphia. Clearfield, Kessler, and Wilson are considering how the experience of a residency may allow them to sharpen themes and practices that have emerged in their work over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Composer Andrea Clearfield will undertake a residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Alberta, Canada. She says she is “eager to explore and process this year: what was lost, what we are mourning, what we are seeking, what we are reckoning, what is more necessary than ever to say through art, what is still yet to consider as we navigate new territory.” At Banff, Clearfield plans to work on BEYOND THE BINARY (a meditation on humans and machines), a multimedia oratorio commissioned by the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Filmmaker David Scott Kessler’s work, such as his 2019 documentary The Pine Barrens, centers on place, particularly from the perspective of an outsider. He will continue this exploration at Fogo Island Arts, a residency community located on a remote tract off the northeast coast of Newfoundland, Canada. “From its mossy, harsh, and windswept landscapes to the community of builders and storytellers, the island seems to exude those spectral characteristics that pull me in and excite my imagination,” Kessler says of the site. Recently, he has been revisiting “illustration, photography…computer-generated 3-D imagery, animation, and use of deep learning technology” as tools in the process of “exploring and interpreting place.”
Visual artist Wilmer Wilson IV will travel to Umbria, Italy, for a residency at Civitella Ranieri, a 15th-century castle with private rooms and studio spaces for visiting artists. The residency “is going to come at the perfect time,” Wilson says, “because I will have internalized an ethos of flexibility or portability in my work, which feels like a specific response to this historical moment.” He notes that resourcefulness has emerged as an important aspect of his practice during the pandemic, with a focus on “small things, inexpensive things, secondhand things as a core inspiration and material driver.”