Three Simple Questions

For more than seven years, Judy Gelles has traveled across the country and around the world to ask more than three-hundred fourth graders three simple questions:

By photographing only their backs and displaying their answers next to them in white text, a fascinating cultural tapestry is formed. Each child she interviews is nine years old, with differences ranging in culture, economic background, and familial living. What fragments the children are class, issues ranging from that of personal matters to idealized world matters, and the presence/absence of a traditional nuclear family. What connects them are their dreams, goals, and desire to be different. By making note of what bonds them, Judy’s goal is to create worldwide curriculums that teach diversity at an early age, so all kids–and future adults–can be friends. She calls this mission Fourth Grade Project. Get-Shot

Gelles tells us in an interview, “I am always amazed at how sophisticated and socially conscious nine-year-olds are. This is the age when worldviews start to become entrenched and paths for the future start to become more set. Their answers reflect their culture and all of the important societal issues affecting their families and the world.”
But why, exactly, does she photograph just their backs? From an editorial/artistic standpoint, one would think the aesthetic choice of anonymity evokes a universal bond. But the answer is quite simple, according to Gelles, “I began in a local school in Philadelphia and the principal told me I could not photograph children’ s faces in the school for privacy issues. She jokingly said I could photograph their backs, not their fronts. So I did.”Wait-to-Go
 
As a member of the Social Justice Committee at her local synagogue her mission began in 2007 in Philadelphia in their effort to help bring reform to the epidemic of violence in the city. At the local public school they had adopted, Gelles was assigned to help students with their reading skills. When both students and herself felt a disconnect with the reading material, she decided to create a writing workshop instead. She asked them to read their own stories to her. From there, she asked three questions, which brought pages upon pages of creative writing and therapy. As a gift she wanted to give the students portraits. And starting from the very privacy issue that limited her portraits, combined with the array of voices from the fourth graders, started her art form and conversation for change.

 
 
Currently, two of Judy’s pieces are in the InLiquid display case at The Art Gallery at City Hall for the exhibition Philly VOTE! With the upcoming Democratic National Convention and Presidential Election, now more than ever, issues surrounding criminal justice, the prison system, our treatment of juveniles, and solitary confinement, have defined the national dialogue. With increased exposure on the failures of the system, and the dedication and passion of so many people, we have an opportunity to make a change on a national level.

 

I am an abstract artist represented by BeatyAmerican in Olde Kensington, Philadelphia.  My paintings include a series of Arctic landscapes which are based on images of arctic glaciers, tundra, and sea ice mainly in Greenland and Iceland.  I have been selected as the featured artist for the BeatyAmerican new space with NEXTFAB at 1800 American Street, Philadelphia.  I am drawn to the elements of the Arctic sea, land, and sky and the interface among these bodies.  Decisions are made what features and elements will remain and what will be discarded, reflecting a rapidly changing landscape yet still beautiful.
I work with oil paint, wet on dry, on wood panels with cradled frames establishing texture and depth using brushes, palette knives, oil sticks, and oil pens.  Completed paintings are professionally framed and ready to hang.
Earlier work focused on urban landscapes, refineries, bridges, buildings, other structures, and geometric patterns of developed lands and built environments.
Karen Stabenow
Karen Stabenow

I am an abstract artist represented by BeatyAmerican in Olde Kensington, Philadelphia. My paintings include a series of…

I am an abstract artist represented by BeatyAmerican in Olde Kensington, Philadelphia. My paintings include a series of Arctic landscapes which are based on images of arctic glaciers, tundra, and sea…

I am an abstract artist represented by BeatyAmerican in Olde Kensington, Philadelphia. My paintings include a series of Arctic landscapes which are based on images of arctic glaciers, tundra, and sea ice mainly in Greenland…

Benjamin Weaver
Benjamin Weaver
Alyse C. Bernstein
Alyse C. Bernstein
My recent works are a break from the painterly images I have made in the past few years. In a search for something more deliberate I changed my painting method and style. It is an abstraction using crosshatching, a technique usually reserved for rendering form and depth I have created an abstract flat image more akin to topography verging on minimalism. The linear hatch marks are made on a matte gradiated background which focuses the viewer on the duality of surface and color. These works are a meditation on labor and time: of coming together and the borders that separate us. The marks are not only creating an aesthetic pattern they are literally the marking of art, and the work that has gone into the piece.
Brian Palmieri
Brian Palmieri

My recent works are a break from the painterly images I have made in the past few years. In a search for something more deliberate…

My recent works are a break from the painterly images I have made in the past few years. In a search for something more deliberate I changed my painting method and style. It is an abstraction using crosshatching,…

My recent works are a break from the painterly images I have made in the past few years. In a search for something more deliberate I changed my painting method and style. It is an abstraction using crosshatching, a technique…

Gillian Pokalo is an artist from the Philadelphia area, whose original, architecture-inspired mono prints employ combinations of fine art printmaking and mixed media techniques with her silk screen photography of abandoned and forgotten buildings.
Gillian Pokalo
Gillian Pokalo

Gillian Pokalo is an artist from the Philadelphia area, whose original, architecture-inspired mono prints employ combinations…

Gillian Pokalo is an artist from the Philadelphia area, whose original, architecture-inspired mono prints employ combinations of fine art printmaking and mixed media techniques with her silk screen photography…

Gillian Pokalo is an artist from the Philadelphia area, whose original, architecture-inspired mono prints employ combinations of fine art printmaking and mixed media techniques with her silk screen photography of abandoned…

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