Get the latest from the Gantt & subscribe to our mailing list.
Painter's Refuge: A Way of Life - A Solo Exhibition of Recent Work by Reginald Sylvester II
About This Exhibition
Reginald Sylvester II's paintings are manifestations of grace. The emergent young artist's influences range from the Bible, Abstract Expressionism, contemporary design, and the readymade. For his first American 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.
To expand upon the already deep visual language of his oeuvre, Sylvester also introduces a magnificent new series of ceremonious, Offering paintings. Sumptuously red, with exposed stretcher bars, these large-scale works are made with rubber, a ubiquitous industrial material whose fraught history inspired Sylvester's introduction of the substance into his art. In the 19th Century, rubber was forcibly harvested in the Congo under great human suffering and atrocities. In Sylvester's hands, rubber becomes a medium for deeply contemplative, nearly monochromatic paintings that vibrate with spiritual intensity.
Download the free companion gallery guide for Painter's Refuge: A Way of Life here.
About The Artist
Reginald Sylvester II (b. 1987, North Carolina, USA) is an American artist working predominantly in abstraction. 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. Many of his paintings are large-scale, featuring gestural mark making with layers of paint applied in a physically demanding process. 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.
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).
More About Reginald Sylvester II
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.
In His Own Words...
A Way of Life
Open Air: Artist Talk with Reginald Sylvester II
Originally aired June 14, 2022.
Works Featured In Painter's Refuge: A Way of Life
Take a look at some of Reginald Sylvester II's paintings featured in the exhibition Painter's Refuge: A Way of Life.
© Reginald Sylvester II. Images courtesy the artist and Maximillian William, London. Photography: Daniel Greer.
Reginald Sylvester II. Misery, 2021. Acrylic and dyed cord on U.S. military issue olive drab shelter halves. 86 x 74 inches
Reginald Sylvester II. Offering III, 2021. Acrylic, rope, paper, and rubber over wood. 92 x 80 inches
Reginald Sylvester II. Spiritual Warfare, 2021. Acrylic and scrap U.S. military issue olive drab shelter halves on rubber. 82 x 82 inches
Your support helps the Gantt present exceptional exhibitions, leading scholars and engaging programs that celebrate the African-American story.