Broken Favor II by Lynda Benglis

Frieze London

Oct 5 – Oct 17, 2020

For the online iteration of Frieze London, we're pleased to present a selection of abstract sculptures that brings together four leading women artists from the gallery’s contemporary program: Lynda Benglis, Torkwase Dyson, Sonia Gomes, and Arlene Shechet.

Featuring exemplary works ranging from 1972 to 2020 by four seminal women working across generations, the presentation showcases five abstract sculptures in the gallery and an additional five works exclusively online, each characterized by freewheeling experimentation and a playful approach to materiality.

Art Fair Details

Frieze London
Oct 8 – 16, 2020
Online Preview: Oct 5 – 7, 2020

In-Gallery Presentation

Oct 5 – 17, 2020
6 Burlington Gardens

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Above: Lynda Benglis, Broken Favor II, 2015-2016, handmade paper over chicken wire, coal tempera, acrylic, acrylic medium, sparkles, 25" × 21" × 15" (63.5 cm × 53.3 cm × 38.1 cm) © Lynda Benglis
Lynda Benglis, Embrazos, 2016-2017, cast sparkles on handmade paper over chicken wire, 46" × 15" × 13" (116.8 cm × 38.1 cm × 33 cm)

Lynda Benglis

Over her seven decades of artmaking, Lynda Benglis has been celebrated for her unorthodox choices of media. Using materials ranging from beeswax and latex to gold-leaf and porcelain, Benglis has long been a pioneer in pushing the boundaries of sculpture with a radically exuberant artistic output that defies convention. Embrazos, made from 2016 to 2017, is from a series of colorful, sparkly paper and chicken wire sculptures that Benglis has been exploring since 2013. Benglis first employed chicken wire in the 1970s with polyurethane and plaster pieces; she would go on to combine it with paper in the 1980s in her bowtie sculptures. Bending the chicken wire into shape is a highly involved, physical process, and even something of a partner dance, as two people—four hands—are required to manipulate the material. Constructed from handmade paper stretched over a partially exposed wire structure, Embrazos has a lumpen, glittery surface composed of tracts of cream, yellow, orange, purple, and silvery blue. By pairing an open, organic form with colorful, sparkling embellishments, Benglis presents a sculpture that is celebratory and joyful, like the kites and floats that the artist loved as a child in Louisiana.

Lynda Benglis, Broken Favor II, 2015-2016, handmade paper over chicken wire, coal tempera, acrylic, acrylic medium, sparkles, 25" × 21" × 15" (63.5 cm × 53.3 cm × 38.1 cm)

Since her pioneering latex pours of the 1960s, Lynda Benglis has created a diverse body of work committed to challenging long-held divisions between painting and sculpture, fluid and solid, masculine and feminine, and process and product. In 2013 she embarked upon a series of category-defying paper sculptures: brightly colored, glittery, cocoon-like forms made from applying handmade paper pulp to a chicken wire armature. Broken Favor II, made from 2015 to 2016, puts materiality at the fore. The textural paper, painted with singed coal tempera and acrylic, follows the organic twists and curves of the chicken wire scaffolding. The sculpture’s sparkling surface is flamboyantly colored, including a striking passage of paint evoking—in form as well as color— the wings of a blue morpho butterfly. The honeycombed wire support makes no attempt to conceal itself and intermittently breaks through its paper casing. In a playful evocation of a broken piñata, with the party favors either absent or presently being enjoyed, the vibrant Broken Favor II manifests Benglis’s passion for the carnivalesque, informed by her childhood experiences with Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

Lynda Benglis, Painting (AS) (#5) Totem, 1972, wire mesh, cotton bunting, plaster, purified pigmented beeswax and damar resin, 35-3/4" × 4-1/2" × 3-1/4" (90.8 cm × 11.4 cm × 8.3 cm)
Lynda Benglis, Foam Painting II, 2009, chicken wire, polyurethane foam, phosphorescence, acrylic, 23-3/4" × 9-1/2" × 11" (60.3 cm × 24.1 cm × 27.9 cm)
Torkwase Dyson, I Am Everything That Will Save Me #2 (Bird and Lava), 2020, acrylic and string on wood, 36" (91.4 cm), diameter

Torkwase Dyson

Torkwase Dyson’s multidisciplinary approach to artmaking interrogates historical and existing infrastructure and architecture, particularly how Black and Brown bodies compose, perceive, and negotiate space. Dyson’s poetics of form and composition offers an approach to abstraction that conveys a self-determination and spatial discovery in phenomenological gestures. Materiality extends to color and texture, as seen in the opaque black of Dyson’s wall-mounted sculpture presented here. In this work, she harnesses wood and string to produce spatially dynamic, geometric forms. The artist’s use of unmodulated black paint speaks to her exploration of the ways in which space is perceived and negotiated. Dyson joined Pace Gallery in January of 2020, and her work was the subject of a solo exhibition at the New Orleans Museum of Art from January through April 2020.

Sonia Gomes, Untitled, 1999, mixed media on wood, 37-3/4" × 23-5/8" × 4-3/4" (96 cm × 60 cm × 12 cm)

Sonia Gomes

Afro-Brazilian artist Sonia Gomes repurposes found or gifted materials to make assemblages that are more than the sum of their parts. Gomes grew up in Caetanópolis near Minas Gerais, formerly a textile manufacturing hub in Brazil, where she developed an interest in sculpting abstractly with fabric and thread. With the foundation for her interest in humble materials laid, the self-taught artist went on to incorporate additional media like wire and wood—often, driftwood or furniture parts—into her organic sculptures. Made in 1999, over fifteen years before a display of Gomes’s work in the 2015 Venice Biennale catapulted her to international fame, Untitled exemplifies the artist’s ability to give simple materials new life. Though the repeated gesture of adding variegated scales, she builds up a biomorphic, dynamic, dimensional form with an open ring of sharp “teeth”. As a child, Gomes observed as her maternal grandmother, who was a faith healer and midwife, performed rites of Brazil’s African diaspora using sacred objects. The animism of these cultural objects stayed with Gomes, inspiring her to infuse sculptural pieces like Untitled with vitality and magic.

Sonia Gomes, Untitled, 2005, stitching, bindings, different fabrics and laces on wire, 28-3/4" × 53-1/8" × 14-9/16" (73 cm × 134.9 cm × 37 cm)
Arlene Shechet, The Crown Jewel, 2020, glazed ceramic, painted hardwood, cast bronze, 94" × 32" × 19-1/2" (238.8 cm × 81.3 cm × 49.5 cm)

Arlene Shechet

Arlene Shechet’s highly saturated, playfully off-kilter sculptures employ mixed media as diverse as clay, paper, porcelain, reclaimed wood, and cast iron and steel. The artist’s chosen materials vary not only aesthetically and structurally but also technically, necessitating a mastery of firing, casting, and carving alike. Columnar and multi-tiered, her recent sculptures are visual studies in precariousness that she has made on a human scale to evoke personages. The Crown Jewel, a totemic sculpture fabricated by Shechet this year, riffs on the notion of the classical bust. The work comprises a blocky wooden plinth that supports, or overtakes, a ceramic and wood bricolage painted in bright red and blue—brilliant hues that for one art critic recalled the palette of Joan Miró. Shechet views words as an additional medium for artistic experimentation and creation, and the sculpture’s choice title waggishly pokes at the traditional framing of sculpture as a masculine medium.

Arlene Shechet, Moonish, 2020, glazed ceramic, painted hardwood, 18" × 16" × 14" (45.7 cm × 40.6 cm × 35.6 cm), ceramic 22" × 16" × 16" (55.9 cm × 40.6 cm × 40.6 cm), stand 39-1/2" × 16" × 16" (100.3 cm × 40.6 cm × 40.6 cm), overall
Arlene Shechet, Grammar, 2020, glazed ceramic, steel, painted  hardwood, 69-1/2" × 20" × 20" (176.5 cm × 50.8 cm × 50.8 cm), overall 30" × 19" × 20" (76.2 cm × 48.3 cm × 50.8 cm), ceramic top 39-1/2" × 20" × 20" (100.3 cm × 50.8 cm × 50.8 cm), base
To inquire about any of the artists or works featured in this exhibition, please email