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Biography

Alexandra Harley is a British sculptor best known for her immersive engagement with materials.

Harley studied sculpture at Wimbledon School of Art under Glyn Williams and Robin Greenwood, followed by the Advanced Course at St. Martins School of Art under Tim Scott. Since leaving college, she has maintained a continuous studio practise alongside a career teaching sculpture in central London. 

 

Harley won the Ashurst Emerging Artist Sculpture Prize in 2021. She has been awarded prestigious fellowships in Japan and the USA, won the the Brian Mercer Fellowship in 2016, spending 3 months in the Mariani Bronze Foundry in Italy. Juried exhibitions for which she has been selected include the ING Discerning Eye, Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, Royal Society of Sculptors Summer Exhibition, Creekside Open, Cork Street Open and the London Group Open. She has also had public sculptures commissioned in the Caribbean, Europe and the USA.

Harley currently splits her time between her studios in Stratford, London and Framlingham, Suffolk.

Recent & Upcoming Projects

TSM 'Dialects of Making' at York St John university

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Talking Sculpture: Dialects of Making asserts the contemporary relevance of abstract sculpture made by women and trans artists. Initiated through practice which prioritises togetherness and dialogue, the innovative processes evidenced throughout the exhibition across material, form, mass, space, scale and colour are distinct in their approaches which deny the labelling of sculpture as a historically masculine art form.

Woven, bent, sliced, interlocked, balanced, standing, climbing, stacked and sprawling, the artworks exhibited grasp and hold the gallery through a shared visual language. A visual language that applies industrial, domestic, constructed and found material to assert their presence – whether slippery or demanding – to take up space.

In collaboration with the artist group Talking Sculpture Making (TSM), this exhibition positions a distinctly community-driven and collaborative practice. In this refusal of historical practices which have denied women artists space, the positioning of community building is integral to the ongoing feminist repositioning of abstract sculpture. Talking Sculpture: Dialects of Making supports a national and intergenerational dialogue of abstract sculptors working across the UK today, and holds space for ongoing discussion.

Gillian Brent
Katrina Cowling
Charlotte Cullen
Alexandra Harley
Hannah Honeywill
Sheila Vollmer

Curated by Talking Sculpture Making (TSM) and Charlotte Cullen

The symposium with keynote speaker Griselda Pollock will be on the 21st March. 

Talking Sculpture Making (TSM)

Talking Sculpture Making (TSM) is an exhibiting and discussion forum organised by three women abstract sculptors: Gillian Brent, Alexandra Harley, and Sheila Vollmer. TSM was formed in 2019 to share the experiences of the artists and to provide and generate support and shared networks. All the artists have been working and exhibiting nationally and internationally, since the 1980s

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TSM invited two earlier career artists Anna Reading and Bea Galletly  to show with us at the APT Gallery in Deptford South London. With a catalogue essay by Meghan Goodeve @meghangoodeve and plenty of visitors, it was a fantastic show. Many thanks to Peter Griffiths, Sarah Knight, Xinjun Lin, Camilo Salazar and Morley Radio students.

The online show made during Lockdown and curated by Jill Gibson can be found at:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTykvXmbeM0&feature=youtu.be

 

In collaboration with Swedish composer Anna Svensdotter, this is a short film about my sculpture Ac in Dalby forest as part of the Selfscapes exhibition in 2018

Professional Associations
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The London Group was set up in 1913 by thirty two artists including Walter Sickert, Jacob Epstein, Wyndham Lewis, David Bomberg, and Henri Gaudier Brzeska. Today, it is a thriving democratic artists’ collective, practicing in all disciplines, with an exciting international programme of events and exhibitions.

 

Since her election in 2018, Harley has been an active member of the society and participated in various London exhibitions.

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The Brancaster Chronicles are a series of recorded discussions made on the occasion of exhibitions of abstract painting and sculpture. Harley was a founding member of the project in 2013.

 

Each Chronicle is organised, transcribed and filmed by the relevant participating artists, and shown with photographs of the work to recreate the environment in which it was initially discussed.

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The Royal Society of Sculptors was founded over 100 years ago in 1905 to champion contemporary sculpture. It remains an artist-led organisation that supports and connects sculptors throughout their careers.

 

Alexandra Harley has been an active member since her election in 2000. She served a term on the Board of Trustees 2017-2020 and has been selected for several member-only exhibitions.

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Free Painters and Sculptors was established in 1952 and played a significant role in the establishment of London's abstract art scene in the 1950’s and 60’s, originally in association with the Institute of Contemporary Arts. This revolutionary ethos continues today among its diverse artistic membership.

 

Harley is a regular participant in FPS' biannual exhibitions at renowned central London galleries.

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