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Internationally Celebrated Artist Reginald Sylvester II Exhibits This Spring at Gantt Center

Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture is excited to announce that internationally renowned artist, Reginald Sylvester II, will open his first solo American museum exhibition at the Gantt Center. Painter’s Refuge: A Way of Life – A Solo Exhibition of Recent Work by Reginald Sylvester II opens May 5, 2022 and will be on view through January 16, 2023.

Sylvester was born in North Carolina and works predominantly in abstraction. Many of his paintings are large-scale, featuring gestural mark making with layers of paint applied in a physically demanding process.

Questioning his position as an artist in a time of moral crises, Sylvester seeks to integrate his personal politics within his art practice to create work which is rooted in social realities and guided by his spirituality.  Recently, Sylvester has begun experimenting with new materials, including rope, ex-military material, and rubber. Like assemblage artists before him, Sylvester is interested in the tactility of these materials and the histories they signify, in this way he moves beyond painting into the realm of object making.

"At the Gantt, we always look forward to showcasing artists and scholars who represent excellence, be they local, regional, national, or international.  We are excited to showcase Painter’s Refuge: A Way of Life – A Solo Exhibition of Recent Work by Reginald Sylvester II, an exhibition that will stir minds and souls and invite viewers to take a journey through Reginald’s creative process and genius," said President & CEO David R. Taylor.

"Reginald Sylvester II's paintings are manifestations of grace," says exhibition curator Dexter Wimberly. "The emergent young artist’s influences range from the Bible, Abstract Expressionism, contemporary design, and the readymade. For his first solo museum exhibition, Sylvester reflects on the charged history of the materials he uses in the creation of his work. Military tent shells -- functional, utilitarian objects serve as the substrate for a transcendent new body of abstract paintings that allude to shelter, protection, and refuge. The son of a U.S. veteran, Sylvester's use of military tents also connects with the familial."

His representing gallery, Maximillian William (London, England) noted, "Sylvester's works are informed by a range of experience within diverse visual economies that belies his young age. His sensibility draws from the media savvy gained from his time as a graphic designer and his historical grounding in Abstract Expressionist practices."

Sylvester's work is held in public collections including the ICA Miami, Florida; Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Wolverhampton, UK; Spazio 1, Lugano, Switzerland; and Fondazione Stelline, Milan, Italy. His work is featured in the forthcoming publication Prime: Art's Next Generation, London: Phaidon. Recent solo exhibitions include With the End in Mind, Maximillian William, London (2021), NEMESIS, Maximillian William, London (2019); and The Rise and Fall of a People, Fondazione Stelline, Milan (2017).

About the Curator

Dexter Wimberly is an American curator, based in Japan, who has organized exhibitions in galleries and institutions around the world. Wimberly’s exhibitions have been featured in leading publications including The New York Times and Artforum, and have received support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Wimberly is the co-founder and CEO of Art World Learning, and a Senior Critic at New York Academy of Art.

About Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture

The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture is a multi-disciplinary arts institution located in the heart of Charlotte, North Carolina. Founded in 1974, the Gantt Center’s mission is to present, preserve and celebrate excellence in the art, history and culture of African-Americans and those of African descent through visual and literary arts, dance music, film, educational programs, theatre productions and community outreach. The Gantt Center features fine art exhibitions from around the world and is home to the nationally celebrated John and Vivian Hewitt Collection of African-American Art, which was generously donated by Bank of America, and is accessible online.

Named for Charlotte civic leader and former mayor Harvey Bernard Gantt, the Gantt Center is housed in an inspired and distinguished award-winning structure designed by architect Philip Freelon, co-designer of the new Smithsonian National Museum for African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). For more information about the Gantt Center and the Initiative for Equity + Innovation, visit ganttcenter.org.

Posted on Tuesday, March 22, 2022

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