Coastal Escape, 2021, Acrylic on canvas, 74 x 62 inches, 188 x 157.5 cm, MMG#33949
Empty Airport, 2021, Acrylic on canvas, 50 x 60 inches, 127 x 152.4 cm, MMG#33951
Fire Sky, 2021, Acrylic on canvas, 62 x 72 inches, 157.5 x 182.9 cm, MMG#33953
Meditation Field, 2021, Acrylic on canvas, 50 x 60 inches, 127 x 152.4 cm MMG#33947
Pfizer, 2021, Acrylic on canvas, 70 x 60 inches, 177.8 x 152.4 cm, MMG#33952
Wheat & Sun, 2021, Acrylic on canvas, 20 x 24 inches, 50.8 x 61 cm, MMG#33474
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MILES McENERY GALLERY is pleased to announce an exhibition of recent works by Brian Alfred. Escape Plan, the artist’s fifth solo exhibition with the gallery, will open on 17 March at 511 West 22nd Street and remain on view through 23 April 2022. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue featuring an essay by Stephen Westfall.
“The past couple of years were full of anxiety, worry, introspection, and the unknown. The work in this exhibition is born out of that environment. Filled with images of the reality of our global situation coupled with images of imagined escape, peace and calm. The group of images play with a dichotomy of feeling trapped and great escape. It was important that the images don’t point too specifically in a direction. I want the viewers to feel taken on a journey of ups and downs, beauty and fear, meditation and rumination, calm and stress. This was where my mind was over the time making the work and I want that to come through to the viewer,” explains Alfred of his most recent body of work produced over the last year. Escape Plan embodies the collective desire to metally or physically escape the stress and anxiety of the global pandemic.
Alfred captures the duality of life and examines this double vision by calling into question sights and scenery we experience daily. Tranquility versus chaos, appearance versus application, he navigates these opposing themes using an approach characterized by a balance of clean lines, solid shapes and color, thin washes and thicker textured areas to create a diverse sense of stillness. Alfred begins with “the world,” in the more limitless sense of the observer confronting an exteriority and invites the viewer to see beyond its singularity. The images seem caught in mid-pan, the frame frozen as the flattened color fields overlap each other layer by layer with clean, stenciled edges and loose transparent washes to achieve a bold simplicity. “Alfred’s paintings are seemingly serene explorations of a pictorial tradition of flatness – a tradition that extends back to Ukiyo-e prints and the resulting Japonisme movement in nineteenth-century France, and forward through such contemporary iterations as the paintings of Allan D’Arcangelo and Alex Katz,” Westfall elaborates.
Many paintings contain tiny hidden gems that may fly under the radar if the viewer does not pause to exercise a keen eye. “In this way, the picture plane of a painting is more of an arrival, I suppose all paintings do something similar, but few painters let us in on the secret. Alfred does just that, exchanging sentimental attachment to illusion for the wit of disclosure. All the surfaces of his paintings are readable in their location of sequence of application; you can follow the taped-off and cut edges and peer through the veils. Step back, and the image clicks together, then the planes start to move like rows of targets in a carnival shooting gallery.”
Alfred is the host of Sound & Vision, one of the top visual arts podcasts in the world where he sits down with artists and musicians to discuss their process and inspiration. Gathered from the archives of Sound & Vision, the artist’s upcoming book, Why I Make Art, will present interviews with artists conducted between 2016 and 2020 – four tumultuous years in America and around the world.
BRIAN ALFRED (b. 1974 in Pittsburgh, PA) received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1997 from Pennsylvania State University and his Master of Fine Arts degree in 1999 from Yale University.
Recent solo exhibitions include “High Rises and DoubleVision:Images of NewYork,” Miles McEnery Gallery, NewYork, NY; “Future Shock,” Miles McEnery Gallery, NewYork, NY; “Techno Garden,” Maho Kubota Gallery, Tokyo, Japan; “NewAnimations,” Hezi Cohen Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel; “Beauty in Danger,” Salon 94 Video Wall, New York, NY; “It’s Already the End of the World,” Frist Center for Visual Art, Nashville, TN; “Co-op,” Giraud Pissarro S galot, New York, NY, and “Rise Above,” Haunch of Venison, London, United Kingdom.
Recent group exhibitions include “Transformed: Objects Reimagined by American Artists,” Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, NJ; “Do You Think it Needs a Cloud,” Miles McEnery Gallery, New York, NY; “Fixed Contained,” Kotaro Nukaga Gallery, Tokyo, Japan; “Door Into Summer / M’s collection +,” Maho Kubota Gallery, Tokyo, Japan; “Rag & Bone Mural,” Houston Street, New York, NY; “Art on Link,” Art on LINK/NYC Kiosks, New York, NY; “Belief in Giants,” Miles McEnery Gallery, New York, NY; “The Frame,” Samsung Art TV, Samsung, USA; “Like Oxygen,” Mountain Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; “Room with a view,” EDDYSROOM, Brooklyn, NY; “Audacious: Contemporary Artists Speak Out,” Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO; “In an Illusion Village: Our Form Connected by Media Art,”Aomori Museum of Art, Aomori City,Japan;“The Search for The Real,” DeBuck Gallery, New York, NY,and “100 Works for 100 Years: A Centennial Celebration,” Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, NJ.
His work is included in the collections of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Cleveland Clinic Art Foundation Program, Lyndhurst, OH; Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO; Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY; Musuem of Fine Arts, Houston, Houston, TX; Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, NJ; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia; New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, CT; Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA; Phoenix Museum of Art, Phoenix,AZ; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; University Museum of Contemporary Art, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Amherst, MA;Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN;Wellmark BlueCross Blue Shield Corporate Art Collection, Des Moines, IA, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY.
Alfred is the recipient of the College of Art & Architecture Faculty Research Grant, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA; Institute for the Arts and Humanities Individual Faculty Grant, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA; Jerome Foundation Grant, St. Paul, MN; CarriageHouse Arts Residency, Islip, NY; Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, New York, NY; Excellence Award, Japan Media Arts Festival,Tokyo, Japan; Pennsylvania State University Alumni Achievement Award, University Park, PA; Joan Mitchell Foundation Award, New York, NY; American Academy of Arts and Letters Purchase Award, New York, NY; New York Foundation of the Arts Inspiration Award, New York, NY; Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, New York, NY; Phelps Berdan Memorial Award,Yale University, New Haven, CT; Skowhegan Match Scholarship, Skowhegan, ME, and the Edwin Zoller Scholarship, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA.
Brian Alfred lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.