The Arts Club presents two springs exhibitions from Ida Applebroog and Reginald Sylvester II

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Ida Applebroog: Birds and Reginald Sylvester II: Feelin’ Blue. 23 March – 15 May 2022

The Arts Club London is delighted to announce two exhibitions, Ida Applebroog: Birds and Reginald Sylvester II: Feelin’ Blue, curated by Amelie von Wedel and Pernilla Holmes of Wedel Art and presented across the club’s Drawing Room and Ante Room.

Ida Applebroog: Birds   

The Arts Club presents an exhibition of 92-year-old American artist Ida Applebroog, focusing on works from the artist’s recent Angry Birds of America series. A pioneer of the American and international feminist movement since the 1970s, the exhibition exemplifies Applebroog’s extraordinary use of animal portraits as a medium of political investigation and criticism.
 
Applebroog has been challenging multiple artistic mediums to deal with themes of politics, power, mass media and sexuality for more than six decades. In 2016 she developed an interest in ornithology, specifically the work of artist and ornithologist John James Audubon (1785 – 1851) which brought art and nature together. Applebroog began collecting taxidermy birds and related books, and through this inspiration, went on to produce her own drawings and models in plaster and paint.
 
The Arts Club’s selection offers a solid overview of the Angry Birds of America series, which Applebroog began making in 2016. Created in a year that also saw the beginning of Donald J. Trump’s US Presidency, a burst of nationalism and anti-immigration policies, and the rise of #MeToo movement, the works echo the wider social unrest of the moment. Depicting bird carcasses, Applebroog gestures to the connection between beauty and violence in both the natural and manmade worlds. At the same time, she immortalises these creatures through her artwork, bringing their lives back into view. In doing so, Applebroog forms a metaphor for contemporary political life in America and a powerful call to action.
 
The Arts Club’s exhibition coincides with the artist’s major solo show at Hauser & Wirth Somerset. The Arts Club and Wedel Art are grateful to the artist, her studio team, and Hauser & Wirth for their enthusiasm and for the great works that make up this show.

Reginald Sylvester II: Feelin’ Blue

 Left: Reginald Sylvester II, Wandering Star, 2021. Acrylic on canvas, 60 x 48 in. Right: Reginald Sylvester II, Strangers, 2021. Acrylic on canvas, 60 x 48 in. © Reginald Sylvester II. Images courtesy the artist and Maximillian William, London. Photography: Daniel Greer.
Left: Reginald Sylvester II, Wandering Star, 2021. Acrylic on canvas, 60 x 48 in. Right: Reginald Sylvester II, Strangers, 2021. Acrylic on canvas, 60 x 48 in. © Reginald Sylvester II. Images courtesy the artist and Maximillian William, London. Photography: Daniel Greer.

The Arts Club is excited to announce an exhibition of paintings by American artist Reginald Sylvester II: Feelin’ Blue. A rising star in international contemporary art, Sylvester’s radical abstract works recall such artists as Elaine de Kooning and Joan Mitchell, yet with a frenetic energy and singular painterly vocabulary that place him wholly in the present.
 
Sylvester’s works are informed by a range of experiences and research that belie his young age. His sensibility draws from the media savvy gained from his time as a graphic designer, a close knowledge of contemporary fashion, and his historical grounding in Abstract Expressionist practices. Sylvester conceptualises painting as a matter of finding, rather than spontaneously generating images, working in the realms which oscillate between material and spiritual. His surfaces are a multi-layered sum of painting, each layer offering a story, a philosophy and a connection to parts of Sylvester’s biography, whilst also inviting the viewer to experience the paintings through their own subjective viewpoint.
 
Focalising Sylvester’s recent blue paintings, Feelin’ Blue sees a departure from his usual warmer palette in favour of cooler tones, inspired by Portishead’s 1994 avant-garde trip-hop album Dummy. The blue ground of the painting is reminiscent of the iconic album’s cover, which features the lead vocalist Beth Gibbons imposed on a cobalt blue background. Among Sylvester’s blues, whites, browns and glossy purples are snatches of red that combine to create an enlivened, soulful painting. On the top and bottom edges of the canvas, the abstract strokes have been covered by a linear wash of paint, reinforcing the geometry of the picture plane. More organic washes of sky and navy blue cascade throughout the piece, complementing the gestural strokes.
 
The Arts Club and Wedel Art are extremely grateful to Reginald Sylvester II for making and showing these formidable works, and for the invaluable help of his gallery Maximillian William, London.

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