Beauty is a Rare Thing, Brian Alfred’s sixth solo exhibition with Miles McEnery Gallery, brings together two distinct bodies of work by the artist. For the first series, Alfred documented his recent travels from Osaka to Brooklyn, and the Dominican Republic to the West Village. Snapshots of personal moments shape an exhibition of serene vignettes

The accompanying suite of paintings, installed in an adjacent gallery space, is comprised of nine portraits of contemporary musicians. Spanning genres from electronic to folk, the paintings celebrate the power of music in shaping the world around us, as well as the artist himself. 

Alfred’s process, honed over the past two decades, distills his source imagery to its most essential forms, layering idyllic elements together and segmenting forms into two dimensional planes of mostly-solid color to reveal a sense of stillness that can be tranquil, unsettling, or both. His compositions are reminiscent of architectural ukiyo-e prints, both in technique and style, while his exploration of collage continues to inform the resulting paintings. 

“Alfred captures the ephemeral, silencing the noise of the world and focusing solely on the composition,” writes Annabel Keenan. “In every image, there is a sense that he is not only preserving the memory of a place, but also the essence of a specific time. This show… is more personal than his others.” Beauty is a Rare Thing casts a newfound appreciation on the everyday, presenting an aura of hope over our ever changing world.