UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State School of Visual Arts assistant professor and alumnus Brian Alfred will have a solo exhibition, titled "Future Shock," on display at Miles McEnery Gallery in New York City from Feb. 1 to March 10.
A public reception for the artist will be held from 6-8 p.m. Feb. 1 at the gallery. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog with essays by Ridley Howard, Sarah Rich and Erik den Breejen.
Taking its title from Alvin Toffler’s 1970 novel and Herbie Hancock’s 1983 album, Alfred’s "Future Shock" embraces both of their messages and expands upon them. Toffler warns of an impending information overload as well as humanity’s inability to adapt to the ever-increasing speed of industry and consumerism. Alternatively, Hancock’s album welcomes the so-called information overload, praising the expansion of musical possibilities brought on by technology.
Alfred embraces the duality of Toffler and Hancock, exploring how progress and development have impacted the environment and society. His paintings exhibit a certain serene beauty, while simultaneously trembling with a foreboding sense of impending doom. From the colorful zest of endless laundry hanging off of the crowded balconies of a giant apartment building, to the quiet beauty of a cropped solar panel, to the soothing repetition of greenhouse fields, each work appears benign and soothing on the surface, but upon closer inspection contains an underbelly of danger and caution.
While Alfred’s influences date from more than 30 years ago, his works make their message as relevant and topical as ever. Seed banks, gas explosions, floods, overpopulation, smog and technology are the subjects that press his mind, making the viewer wonder: Do we panic, do we collapse? Or do we stand watching the sunset, embracing the beauty of the polluted sky? How do we deal with this future shock?
Alfred, a Pittsburgh native, received his bachelor of fine arts degree from Penn State in 1997 and his master of fine arts degree from Yale University in 1999.
He has had numerous solo exhibitions nationally and internationally. Recent solo exhibitions include: "Techno Garden," Maho Kubota Gallery, Tokyo, Japan; "New Animations," Hezi Cohen Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel; "Beauty in Danger," Salon 94 Video Wall, New York, New York; "It’s Already the End of the World," Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, Tennessee; "Co-op," Giraud Pissarro Ségalot, New York, New York; "Rise Above," Haunch of Venison, London, England; "It’s Already the End of the World," Haunch of Venison, New York, New York; "Majic Window," Studio La Città, Verona, Italy; "Millions Now Living Will Never Die!!!," Haunch of Venison, Berlin, Germany; "Global Warmings," SCAI the Bathhouse, Tokyo, Japan; "Surveillance," Haunch of Venison, Zurich, Switzerland; "Space is the Place!," Mary Boone Gallery, New York, New York; "The Future is Now!," Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, Arizona; and "Overload," Max Protetch Gallery, New York, New York.
Selected group exhibitions include: "In An Illusion Village: Our Form Connected by Media Art," Aomori Museum of Art, Aomori City, Japan; "Mercury Retrograde: Animated Realities," Galerija Galzenica, Velika Gorica, Croatia; "100 Works for 100 Years: A Centennial Celebration," Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, New Jersey; "Uncanny Congruencies," Palmer Museum of Art, Penn State, University Park; "Videosphere: A New Generation," Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; "Me, Undoubtedly. 1309 Faces," Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Wolfsburg, Germany; "Aichi Triennale," Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, Nagoya, Japan; "Surface Tension," South Bend Museum of Art, South Bend, Indiana; "New Art for a New Century: Contemporary Acquisitions 2000-2010," Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, California; "Teaching An Old Dog New Tricks," Den Frie Udstilling (Den Frie Center of Contemporary Art), Copenhagen, Denmark; "The Shapes of Space," Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, New York; "American Academy of Arts and Letters Invitational Exhibition," American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, New York; "Radar: Selections from the Kent and Vicki Logan Collection," Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colorado; "Metropolis," National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia; and "Digital Showcase,” Austin Museum of Digital Art, Austin, Texas.
His work may be found in many permanent collections, including Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colorado; Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, New Jersey; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia; Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, California; Phoenix Museum of Art, Phoenix, Arizona; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, California; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, New York; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York.
Alfred also is the host of a podcast that he created and runs called “Sound & Vision,” which is continually ranked among the top visual arts podcasts in iTunes. He has recorded more than 85 conversations with artists and musicians since its inception almost two years ago.
He is the recipient of the Jerome Foundation Grant, Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, Excellence Award from the Japan Media Arts Festival, Penn State Alumni Achievement Award, Joan Mitchell Foundation Award, American Academy of Arts and Letters Purchase Award, Penn State College of Arts and Architecture Alumni Award, New York Foundation of the Arts Inspiration Award, Phelps Berdan Memorial Award, Skowhegan Match Scholarship, and the Edwin Zoller Scholarship.
Alfred lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.