Brian Alfred, assistant professor of art and alumnus of the Penn State School of Visual Arts, has a solo exhibition, In Praise of Shadows, at Ameringer McEnery Yohe gallery in New York City through July 1, 2016. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue published by Yundler Brondino Verlag featuring an essay by Sarah K. Rich, associate professor of art history at Penn State, and a conversation between the artist and the director of the Andy Warhol Museum, Eric Shiner. The catalogue was made possible in part by a College of Arts and Architecture Faculty Research Grant.
The paintings in the exhibition were made in response to Alfred’s month-long trip to Japan to research a project for the East Japan Railway Company. He created animations in relation to the Niigata area for the Genbi Shinkansen, a high-speed railway service (see https://artsandarchitecture.psu.edu/news/alfred-contributes-artwork-japanese-high-speed-train). The pieces are all small works on canvas of views that Alfred found during his travels. The title of the show references Jun’ichirō Tanizaki’s celebrated book of 1933, In Praise of Shadows.
In the book, Tanizaki focuses on the leisurely and idle pleasures of pre-industrial Japan. In her essay, Rich notes that Alfred’s paintings, at first glance, seem to exemplify the opposite of what Tanizaki praised, because most capture bright, modernized, efficient spaces. “But therein lies the gambit. Because Alfred gathers such views in order to put Tanizaki’s insights to work. His paintings search for shadows—for poetic elusiveness—that might yet stretch across our otherwise blunt and over-lit world.”
For more on Alfred and the exhibition, visit http://www.amy-nyc.com/exhibitions/brian-alfred_1.