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By Joan Myerson Shrager

My art reflects the sum of experiences and ruminations about life, streams of consciousness swirling in my head and pouring out onto my computer, canvas or clay.

I love bold colors and am intrigued by the intersection of art and technology allowing me to play with dozens of images or thoughts and to layer them into my digital paintings. I photograph my sculptures and use them in the digital art as well. Art is the journal in which I record my deepest thoughts.

I start with events, ideas and images and soon am transported almost trancelike into storytelling. Sometimes the subject becomes so entwined in the colors and shapes I am the only one who knows it's there. The computer allows me to mold, shape, add and delete in ways that conventional art materials never could. The clay seems to pull from the same source, and I fashion strange and sometimes humorous shapes.

My Background

I am a professional artist, former gallery owner/ director of ArtForms Gallery, Manayunk and co-founder, co-director with Paula Mandel of The Stained Glass Project: Windows That Open Doors now in its 9th year, a non-profit after school art program for Philadelphia Public School youngsters.

I trained as an artist at Moore College of Art, Cheltenham Art Center, University of the Arts, Abington Art Center and Tyler School of Art.

Over the past 50 years my digital work has been exhibited in hundreds of invitational solo and group exhibitions. It has been featured in an art textbook as well as in many news and art publications and major digital art websites. My digital art is in the collections of Harcum College, now on permanent display at the Kevin D. Marlo Gallery, University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University and the Museum of Computer Art (MOCA).

I work in clay as well as digital art, having trained at the University of the Arts under William Daly who special-admitted me as a day student; at Moore under Gerry Crimmins and at Cheltenham Art Center under Syd Carpenter and Gladys Wagner. I do hand sculpted, bisque fired 3 dimensional acrylic paintings. This work has been exhibited at The Temple Judea Museum and in an exhibition at Philadelphia City Hall September through October 2015.

In 2014 my work was featured in solo exhibitions at St. John's Lutheran Church Gallery, Melrose Park and at Harcum College. In 2015 my work was in an invitational group exhibition at the Old City Jewish Art Center and an invitational group exhibition at the Temple Judea Museum.

In 2019, I organized a group exhibition with colleagues from ArtForms Gallery Manayunk called Connections, that I was an owner and director of 1993-2004, at Abington Art Center, PA. I was also juried in to Craft Narratives an exhibition at Philadelphia City Hall, The Fletcher Exhibition at Reece Museum, Tennessee and in the annual juried exhibition at Abington Art Center where I received the Ceramic award.

In 2019, my digital work has been exhibited at Keneseth Israel Synagogue and in the Temple Judea Museum and was displayed at Woodmere Art Museum.

For 15 years I have co-directed with Paula Mandel, The Stained Glass Project: Windows That Open Doors in Philadelphia. I document activities create posters and photo books for it.


The Museum of Computer Art designated my website as a "distinguished, world class" digital art website.
Shrager's grand gestures of paint and embroidered surfaces are reminiscent of the later abstraction of Frant Stella but also of the hyperbolic commentary of Red Grooms. With hints of modernists from Kandinsky to Jackson Pollock it is Chagall in particular who is evoked by the artist's dreamlike development of images...
Robin Rice, Philadelphia City Paper

Continue creating your excellent visual ideas... Miriam Schapiro

Paintings energized with bright... colors that... [are] full of surprises, Pollock-like feel... layering gives her work dimension... Art Matters

Your computer pieces were amazing... Judy Herman, Director Main Line Art Center

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