Willis Hartshorn’s poignant portrayal of his quiet world will be on view at Howard Greenberg Gallery from January 29 – March 14, 2015. Willis Hartshorn: A Fine Life presents color photographs that take a minimalist approach to communicate deeply through subtle scenes of the everyday. An opening reception with the artist will be held on Thursday, January 29 from 6-8 p.m.
After nearly 30 years at the International Center of Photography, Hartshorn retired from his position as director in order to better manage a chronic illness. He wished to transition to a more quiet, peaceful life – a life that would be more conducive to making photographs once again after a long hiatus. Upon retirement, Hartshorn moved from New York City to the Hudson River Valley, where he set up a studio in an old appliance store and dedicated himself to photography. He had always hoped to embark on a cross-country road trip, as many great photographers have in years past, but instead he became compelled by his new surroundings upstate. Observational of the ordinary, Hartshorn’s photographs encapsulate a definitive shift in his pace of living. Through visual exploration of what happens when a person is forced to slow down, he has found solace.
Among the highlights of the show are Man on Ladder, 2012, and Painter’s Painting, 2012, which focus on people with their backs to the camera, working and doing simple tasks. Minimalistic images like Fence, 2013, and Yellow Trailer, 2013, explore color and form in pure visuality. In contrast, images like Thumb Shadow, 2014, and Men Working, 2014, are overloaded with visual information. Gas Station, 2014, and Drive Through Window, 2014, are modernistic compositions of shape, design, and color. A photograph of his daughter, Head-stand, 2007, is a powerful and emotional portrait taken during a particularly good moment.
“I had no illusions about the importance of the photographs I would make. I only hoped that photography would show me where I was and where I might want to go. Mostly I walked, sometimes I drove, but I worked in a relatively small radius from home. I did not look for the odd or extraordinary, the downtrodden or the abused – I looked for images that have a sense of everyday life. Nothing fancy, but a good way to live nonetheless,” stated Hartshorn.
Willis Hartshorn holds a B.A. degree from the University of Rochester and an M.F.A. degree in Photographic Studies from the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, where he studied under Nathan Lyons. He began showing his photographs in individual and group exhibitions in 1973, and received NEA Photography Fellowships in 1979 and 1986. Hartshorn served as Director of the International Center of Photography from 1994 to 2013. He joined ICP’s Exhibitions Department in 1982 and served as Traveling Exhibitions Coordinator, Director of Exhibitions, and Deputy Director for Programs prior to his appointment as Director of ICP. He formerly worked with the Traveling Exhibitions Program at the Visual Studies Workshop and as Curatorial Assistant at the International Museum of Photography / George Eastman House, Rochester. The recipient of a number of prestigious awards including the Infinity Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2013, Hartshorn has lectured widely and curated noteworthy exhibitions during his tenure at ICP. The exhibition at Howard Greenberg is his first solo exhibition since 1992. He currently lives in Boulder, Colorado.
About Howard Greenberg Gallery
Howard Greenberg Gallery is located at 41 East 57th Street, Suite 1406, New York. The gallery exhibits at The ADAA Art Show, The Armory Show, The AIPAD Photography Show New York, The London Photograph Show, Art Basel, Paris Photo, and Art Basel Miami Beach. For more information, contact 212-334-0010 or email@example.com or visit www.howardgreenberg.com.
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