Reginald Sylvester II creates works that trigger provoking and often disconcerting questions surrounding topics such as race, sexuality, religion and spirituality. He approaches these through deconstructed, dramatized forms, which have their foundation in his earlier figurative works, remnants of which still echo through the work’s evolved abstraction.
When asked about his process, Sylvester II states, “The work embodies figuration through abstraction. My energy is transferred onto the surface while the imagery is streamed from my subconscious, which I believe is the soul.”
Deeply personal yet universal in its scope, his works often display scenes of premonition, lust or torment – all laden with connotations reflecting the state of the world today, as well as the artist’s own sense of vertigo when facing his predictions for the future.
Sylvester II’s imagery lays bare the alchemy of the artist’s interior world, personal journey and parallel universe. Acting as a conduit to another realm of consciousness, Sylvester II engages both with his work and with the world at large through his personal faith.
When discussing the body of work in his solo show entitled “Premonition” at The Lever House Art Collection in New York, the artist explains “The biblical references function as visual language within the work. God is a huge part of my life so it's nearly impossible for me to create without referencing his word. The repetitive grid-like imagery relates to digital culture but on a deeper note to the feeling of entrapment. The feeling of truly being free versus not being free is a reoccurring conversation within myself. This body of work definitely speaks on the state of the world, as we know it. Specifically speaking to the present and the future, and to how the scriptures relate to that.”
Sylvester II was born in Jacksonville (North Carolina) in 1987. He grew up in Oakland, California and attended the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, studying graphic design. Reginald lives and works in New York.
Sylvester II has had numerous international solo exhibitions presented by Maximillian William in London, New York and Tokyo. Selected solo shows include Reaching for Heaven (Pace Prints, New York 2016), The Rise and Fall of a People (Fondazione Stelline, Milan 2017), and Premonition (The Lever House Art Collection, New York 2017.) Group shows include Surface Issues (Leila Heller Gallery, Dubai 2017) and Punch curated by Nina Chanel Abney (Jeffrey Deitch, New York 2018.) Sylvester II currently has a solo presentation, entitled ‘NEMESIS’ of new works at Maximillian William in London, the inaugural exhibition of the gallery’s space in Fitzrovia.