June Kelly Gallery


Alex Harsley
An Overview

Alex Harsley - I Am The Greatest, 1972, digital print, 59 x 44 inches, ed. 1.jpegYang Ghost, 2013, digital C Print, 60 x 40 inches

I Am The Greatest, 1972
Digital print
59 x 44 inches, edition 1

 Alex Harsley: An Overview -- an exhibition of candid photographs that surveys six decades of a longtime photojournalist’s exploration and passion for contemporary daily human drama, will open at the June Kelly Gallery, 166 Mercer Street, on June 22.  The work will remain on view through July 28.

Alex Harsley, a native of South Carolina and a New York resident since early childhood, chronicles stories in which the city and its parade of persons are primary subject.  With keen discerning eye for narrative and irony, never without camera in tow, and roaming on his bike, Harsley bridges street photography and documentary.

In earlier gallery exhibitions Harsley has shown geographically focused series, each reflecting his visual perception of the neighborhood, its revolution, inhabitants and lifestyles.  His inner passion for daily human drama allows him to approach the subject of place in a personal and subjective way and produces images that represent a specific history – one continually evolving out of a larger movement of change through time.

Harsley’s images never convey a sense of an uncomfortable invasiveness.  Yet the power of his visual storytelling brings attention to neighborhood enclaves and life styles that are unnoticed or never come to mind for most onlookers.

In this current exhibition, his visual narratives from 1958-2017 structure yet  - another perception of Harsley as a photojournalist whose keen eye with regard to human subjects is a very much recognized interest that both intrigues and offers insight about people who have crossed his path.

Harsley’s portraits reflect both his uncanny sense of composition and gut reaction to the subject that is spontaneous, deliberate and focused beyond muddled and complex reality.  His acumen affords information and grace that feed viewers’ inquisitiveness.  This discernment is seen in his portraits of Muhammad Ali, whom he studied for weeks at the boxer’s upstate camp, in observance of Jean Michel Basquiat moving about in his East Village neighborhood, and in being captivated by Apollo Theater jazz greats.

In Harsley’s images, the endless restaging of life….scenes, culture, economics, personalities and politics is made ever more apparent.

Harsley’s images have been seen in numerous one-person and group exhibitions national and international and are represented in many private collections.  Harsley studied privately with Professor Lloyd Varden of Columbia University, a key figure in color photography.  He has collaborated on projects with a number of other artists, including videos with David Hammons and Candida Alvarez, and produced a video documentary, “The Life and Work of Vincent Smith.”


Click on thumbnail for larger image.

I'm Beautiful (Ali) - 1972

Jean-Michel Basquiat - 1985

 Alex Harsley Bio

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166 MERCER STREET, NEW YORK, NY 10012/212-226-1660
(Between Houston and Prince Streets)
Gallery Hours in July: Monday  through Friday, 11 am to 6 pm

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