In November 1965, Billy Apple (b.1935– d. 2021 Auckland, New Zealand) staged his second solo exhibition at Bianchini Gallery in New York City. This ground-breaking exhibition is credited with being one of the first to treat electric light as a new sculptural medium, a move that was then beginning to galvanise a range of artists working in the USA and Europe. Taking the rainbow as its central motif, this show proved Apple’s attraction to new products and advancing technologies, and his fascination for the science of colour and light.
The exhibition featured seven neon sculptures variously based on the rainbow shape and colours. These were placed strategically across the gallery floor to recreate the hues of the visible spectrum with a precision that together made up white light. Along with these floor-based works, Apple included an editioned Rainbow multiple (serigraphs utilising arcs of brilliant fluorescent inks), and five free-standing Plexiglas rainbows, some mounted on acrylic waterfalls, neatly scaled to sit on plinths or shelves that toyed with coloured rainbow light as if it could exist in solid and liquid states.
Now, in 2022, The Mayor Gallery is proud to restage Billy Apple’s Rainbows exhibition, having worked with the artist’s wife, Mary Apple, to prepare the surviving works still in the artist’s possession. Featuring four original neon sculptures, a rare semi-circular Rainbow print, and three Plexiglas objects, the exhibition will be the first time Apple’s Rainbows have been presented together since 1965.
Billy Apple: Rainbows press release