MOCA WESTPORT, WESTPORT, USA
19 MARCH – 28 MAY 2023
Anselm Reyle's best-known works include his foil and strip paintings and sculptures, which often include remnants of consumer society, discarded materials, symbols of urbanity, and industrial change.The exhibition was curated by Newark, New Jersey-based Emann Odufu, an art activist, independent filmmaker, producer, screenwriter, and digital media specialist. He is best known for his work that explores the genre of Afro-Futurism within black cinema.Reyle’s art is closely tied to Modernism, as he both draws from and critiques its traditions while also creating something new. His abstract sculptures and paintings feature vibrant fluorescent colors, recycled objects, and reflective materials like foil, glitter, and mirrors.
In this exhibition of 20 works at MoCA Westport, Reyle showcases various iconic elements of his oeuvre; including his neon installations, foil works, two vases in his signature Fat Lava style, straw bale sculptures, a new collection of abstract photography, as well as a video. RAINBOW IN THE DARK is the result of constant development in Reyle’s artistic practice, rooted in his first artistic experiments with found materials. The exhibition displays the current representation of those ideas and concepts, highlighting the artist's evolution over the past decade and documenting the expansion of his visual language in the present moment.According to Odufu, the exhibition title RAINBOW IN THE DARK references Reyle’s neon installation works showcased in dark environments and composed of fragments or leftover neon tubes from industrial and urban spaces. The site-specific neon installation plays a prominent role in this exhibition. An essential aspect of his practice, Reyle is almost “drawing in space” with his neon installations, turning his gestural strokes into sculpture. The neon lights channel the type of flashy storefront decoration or gaudy culture of excess that characterizes cities like Las Vegas or Atlantic City as casino wonderlands. Reyle’s artwork explores aspects of society and culture that are considered kitsch, utilizing materials that may be regarded by some as tawdry and prominently displaying them in high art settings.
© Images Jenna Bascom
Reyle’s practice is very much inspired by his participation in the punk and heavy metal music movements. His unique color palette – Day Glo colors specifically – can be seen as an outgrowth of his fascination with psychedelic and punk aesthetics. These elements came into Reyle’s awareness as a young adult in the 1980s. This period was an explosive time of extreme transformation in Berlin, especially in terms of art, music, and youth culture. Reyle’s musical influence is seen in the video displayed as part of RAINBOW IN THE DARK, ANSELM REYLE IN STUDIO, which showcases the artist’s freeform gestural practice set to a background of a pulsating heavy metal guitar.
MoCA Westport thanks The Union House for their generous support in funding the Rainbow in the Dark exhibition.