19 MARCH – 28 MAY 2023

Anselm Reyle is one of the most renowned contemporary artists in the world. His best-known works include his foil and strip paintings and his sculptures. Remnants of consumer society, discarded materials, symbols of urbanity, and industrial change play a central role in his works.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.Anselm 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, and a video. Rainbow in the Dark results from constant development in Reyle’s artistic practice. It is rooted in his first artistic experiments with found materials like silver foil and neon tubes. Still, it displays the current representation of those ideas and concepts, highlighting Reyle’s evolution as an artist 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 the 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.Reyle’s practice is very much inspired by his participation in the punk and heavy metal music movements. His unique color palette that utilizes Day Glo colors 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, entitled Anselm Reyle in Studio, which showcases the artist’s freeform gestural practice 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.

© Images Jenna Bascom