Arriving on the New York art scene in the late sixties with her poured latex and foam works, Benglis created a perfectly timed retort to the male dominated fusion of painting and sculpture that had taken place a few years earlier with the advent of Process Art and Minimalism. Known for her exploration of metaphorical, sexual and biomorphic shapes, she is deeply concerned with the physicality of form and how it affects the viewer, using a wide range of materials to render dynamic impressions of mass and surface: soft becomes hard, hard becomes soft and gestures are frozen.
In Benglis’ work, the act of artistic creation is embedded in presentation of process and the movement of materials. While this can be seen as a more formalistic pursuit, within Benglis’ work it becomes an act of transformation, a sort of alchemical presentation in which material presence, with a life of its own, combines with artistic manipulation as an extension of the body.
Throughout her career, Benglis has managed to balance controversy with critical interest, abstraction with content, and gesture with mass, creating a diverse body of work known for its formal and innovative qualities. The artist’s influence can be seen in the work of many younger artists working today; examples include the plastic “blobs” of Roxy Paine, the sexually suggestive props of Matthew Barney, the floor pieces of Polly Apfelbaum and the ambiguous shapes created by sculptor Franz West.
Lynda Benglis was born in Louisiana and now resides in New York and Santa Fe. Benglis is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and two National Endowment for the Arts grants, among other commendations. She has had recent solo shows at the Cheim & Read Gallery, NY; The Bass Museum of Art, Miami; Kappatos Gallery, Athens, Greece; and she has been included in group shows at the Kunsthalle Wien, Austria; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Queens, NY; the Centro Internazionale Mostre, Rome; Kunsternes Hus, Oslo, Norway, and the Centre George Pompidou, Paris. Upcoming solo exhibitions are planned at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin, the Kunsthalle in Vienna, the Akademie der Kunste in Berlin and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens. Extensive public collections include the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; the Guggenheim; MoMA; LACMA, the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia; SFMoMA; the Walker in Minneapolis and the Whitney, NY.
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