Lynda Benglis

b.1941

Lynda Benglis is a Post-Minimalist, feminist artist, and pioneer of contemporary art. A pioneer of free-form sculpture, she radically pushed the medium in the late 1960s with her biomorphic abstract works.  Her unique poured latex floor pieces redefined the predominantly male world of sculpture and abstraction.

She has said that her childhood trips from the United States to visit the rocky Greek island of Kastellorizo, where her paternal grandparents lived, was the source of her fascination with rugged textures. Since the 1990s, Benglis travels between New York and Santa Fe, New Mexico where her studio overlooks she the natural landscape of the high desert.  This space allow her to create dramatic large-scale works.

While she is best known for sculptures made of globular polyurethane foam, she has worked in every medium imaginable: wax, poured pigmented latex, rubber, paper, glass, bronze, ceramics, video, metal knot sculpture, coiled steel, and hydraulic sculpture.

Using latex and Day-Glo pigment, she poured her early paintings directly onto the floor.  She also poured them in corners or projected them from walls where they would stand out in startling shapes.  Her floor work art, such as “Contraband” 1969, brought her fame before she turned thirty.

Her “Peacock” series in the late 1970s and early 1980s elegantly evoked ceremonial headdresses or fans, while at the same time her austere series paid homage to torsos of ancient Greek sculpture.   In the 1980s and 1990s she sprayed liquid metal onto chicken wire skeletons. Her later ceramics consisted of hand -molded clay with glazes flung onto them, recalling Abstract Expressionism.

She was given a retrospective in 2009-2010, that began in Dublin and ended up at New York’s New Museum.  In 2011, the New Museum gave a four decade exhibition of her sculptural works along with her videos. Represented by major galleries, she received two N.E.A. grants and a Guggenheim Fellowship.  Her work is part of the permanent collections in major museums, such as Los Angeles Museum of Art, New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim, and Tate Modern.

More here.

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