Sticks and Stones:
“Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me” a phrase most of us have heard repeatedly since our earliest school days, a phrase meant to diffuse physical violence, is in fact a lie. The rhyme, typically used as a defense against name-calling and verbal bullying, is one that has always struck me as backwards. While the rhyme’s effectiveness at curbing physical violence or limiting bullying is debatable, the fact that the harm words cause last long after any physical bruises have healed is the central theme of Gershon’s project.
This ongoing project attempts to make visible the lasting harm these words cause. Stark’s unique approach in his portrait sessions help to make visible lashon hara, (“evil tongue” in Hebrew) and the lasting harm words can inflict. Stark continues to seek new participants, and new perspectives to add to this portrait series. To support his search we have created a Photo Booth like installation where visitors can add their words and image to the project and personal portrait sessions can be scheduled for those visitors looking to be included in the project.
– David DeMelim, Managing Director
Sticks and Stones, is being presented in tandem with Words Matter a juried exploration of the power of words.
Sticks and Stones: Gershon Stark
Solo Exhibition in the Focus Gallery
Opening Reception: June 15th, 5:00 – 8:00 p.m., part of Gallery Night Providence
Exhibition on View: June 15th – July 14th
Artist Statement: Sticks and Stones
The Sticks and Stones Project © is my lens based artistic endeavor to highlight the lie of the childhood rhyme: Sticks and Stones may break my bones but words will never harm me.” From both personal experience and observational notation I have witnessed the long term trauma resulting from negative speech and verbal abuse. In both subtle forms of cynicism and overt forms of criticism the impact of words intended to create doubt, instigate shame, or directly harm an individual can last a lifetime. In Judaism, Lashon Hara, or evil and negative speech, is considered to be more serious than physical violence because of the potential for a person to relive and never heal from a verbal assault.
I hope, that my Sticks and Stones Project creates an awareness leading to meaningful change in how we speak to each other in personal, familial, and more global conversations.
– Gershon Stark
About Gershon Stark:
Gershon Stark considers himself a devout Jew, and sees his art as part of tikkun olam, the Jewish theological obligation “to make the world a better place, to restore its beauty.” Sticks and Stones is his “humble attempt to make a small contribution in that direction.” He was born in the Bronx, N.Y. After his parents’ divorce, Stark lived as a teen with his aunt and uncle on Long Island, where he became “this weird mix of urban Jew and rocking surfer,” he says. Stark recalls his uncle giving him his first 35 mm camera. A roll of film latter I was hooked. “I would walk around Lower Manhattan, photographing Italian men playing bocce and old women sitting on milk crates. I am, at heart, an artist who needs to engage the world visually.”
Stark studied photography and sociology at the State University of New York at Binghamton, then took a master’s in film and broadcasting at Boston University. In his photography, he seeks to reveal the depths and layers underneath the surface we ordinarily perceive. Stark currently maintains a studio in Providence and teaches photography at Johnson & Wales University.
“Sticks and Stones” is an ongoing project and Stark continues to seek new participants, and new perspectives to add to this portrait series.
Sticks and Stones: Gershon Stark
Portraits to expose the lie and make visible the harm words can do, the lie that is a nursery rhyme
Opening: June 15th, 5:00 – 8:00pm
Exhibition: June 15th – July 14th
Presented in tandem with Words Matter: Found, Created or Imagined
a juried exhibition to explore the power of words
The RI Center for Photographic Arts, RICPA 118 N. Main St. Providence, RI 02903
Located in the heart of Providence, RICPA was founded to inspire creative development and provide opportunities to engage with the community through exhibitions, education, publication, and mutual support.
RICPA exists to create a diverse and supportive community for individuals interested in learning or working in the Photographic Arts. We strive to provide an environment conducive to the free exchange of ideas in an open and cooperative space. Members should share a passion for creating, appreciating, or learning about all forms of photo-based media. We work to provide a platform for artistic expression, that fosters dialogue and drives innovation in the photographic arts.
We are member supported, the first step to membership is registration – https://www.riphotocenter.org/registration Details on membership options can be found at https://www.riphotocenter.org/membership-info
The Gallery at the Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts is a member of Gallery Night Providence https://www.gallerynight.org
Questions: Contact email@example.com To learn about other RICPA exhibits and programs, visit https://www.riphotocenter.org