“Fourth Grade Project”, Judy Gelles began the Fourth Grade Project from a prototype born during her volunteer work at an under-served Philadelphia school not far from where she lived. Over the past decade she has interviewed and photographed over 300 fourth grade students from the USA, China, Dubai, England, India, Israel, Italy, Nicaragua, St. Lucia, South Africa, and South Korea. By asking these students the exact same 3 questions (Who do you live with? What do you wish for? What do you worry about?) she allows their answers to become part of her art along with her intriguing photographs. Without seeing the face of these children, who are photographed from behind, we can hear their voices through their answers to these questions that frame their body in the image along with economies of gesture that speak as loudly as their words. Told in their own words, their stories touch on common human experiences and urgent social issues.
"Sunrise Sunset” Series, Judy Gelles first encountered the beach boxes while traveling in the United Kingdom. In one of the most colorful painting projects undertaken in the UK, Sadolin Superdec has been used to deliver inspirational shades capturing the essence of the color spectrum from sunrise to sunset at 75 traditionally styled, wooden beach huts in Bournemouth. passed down for generations, have distinct compositions and colors identifying ownership . This is for a simple shed with no electricity, water, or any features at all other than proximity to sand and water. Only locals are allowed to acquire them and they are immensely prized possessions.
“Trailer Park” (Melbourne, FL) another series of work, spawned from her father’s decision to buy a mobile home in Melbourne Beach, FL, to escape the icy New Hampshire winters. Her technique illuminates this community, embodying the dream of retirement, but for many, is actually the end of the road.
“Beach Box” Series (Melbourne, Australia), that depicts simple sheds with no electricity, water, or any features at all other than proximity to sand and water. Located in Melbourne, Australia, these beach boxes provide an artful character to the beaches. The vivid colors assigned to these sheds, and Gelles’ photographic talent, enhances the value these beach boxes possess.
Judy Gelles received her MFA in Photography from Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI. Gelles has exhibited her work most notably at the National Portrait Gallery, London, UK; Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, Sunderland, UK; Santa Fe University of Art and Design, Santa Fe, NM; Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA; Philadelphia Foundation, Philadelphia, PA; Granary Arts Center, Ephraim, UT; Berlin Foto Biennale, Berlin, Germany; Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, Miami, FL; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, DE; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland; Photo Center NW, Seattle, WA; Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, CA; and more. She has been awarded the CENTER Award, Second Prize “Curator’s Choice” (2016); CFEVA Alumni Travel Grant (2016); First Prize, Prix de la Photgraphie Paris (2013); Lomax Family Foundation Grant (2012); among others. Her work is in the collection of The Museum of Modern Art in New York and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY; Danforth Museum of Art, Framingham, MA; Harvard University Fine Arts Library, Cambridge, MA; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; among many others. Judy Gelles is represented by Pentimenti Gallery in Philadelphia, PA.