Lynda Benglis (b. 1941, Lake Charles, Louisiana) lives and works in New York; Santa Fe; Kastellorizo, Greece; and Ahmedabad, India. First recognized in the late 1960s for her poured latex and foam works, Benglis created work that was a perfectly timed retort to the male-dominated fusion of painting and sculpture with the advent of Process Art and Minimalism. Known for her exploration of metaphorical 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.
Benglis’s work has been the subject of recent solo exhibitions at major museums around the world, including Storm King Art Center, New Windsor, New York (2015); Hepworth Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England (2015); Aspen Art Museum, Colorado (2016); Bergen Assembly, KODE Art Museums of Bergen, Norway (2016); Museo International del Barroco, Puebla, Mexico (2016); and Kistefos-Museet, Norway (2018).
Benglis is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and two National Endowment for the Arts grants, among other commendations. She holds honorary degrees from Tulane University and the University of Thessaloniki in Greece. Her work is held in numerous public collections including Dallas Museum of Art; Detroit Institute of Arts; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; New Orleans Museum of Art; Philadelphia Museum of Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Tate Modern, London; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
“I totally believe that art is an open dialogue and that it is not logical. It does not always make sense.”— Lynda Benglis
Pace Gallery is pleased to present LYNDA BENGLIS, on view from August 21 to October 23, 2019, the artist’s first exhibition with the gallery since joining in January this year. Bringing together twenty mid- to large-scale works from the 1970s to the present, this exhibition highlights Benglis’s ceaseless investigation of materiality, form, and weight throughout her highly prolific career. Ranging from her earlier use of latex, foam, and aluminum to her more recent investigations with polyurethane, bronze, and handmade paper, the works in this exhibition provide an overview of Benglis’s expansive creative output, showcasing her voracious ability to push the boundaries of sculpture time and time again.
In conjunction with her exhibition at Pace, on October 22, 2019, Benglis will participate alongside writer, curator, and activist Kimberly Drew as part of Stanford University’s recently launched The Komal Shah and Gaurav Garg Artist Conversation Series, a program which pairs renowned artists with cultural thought leaders from various fields to talk about pertinent issues in our society. The event is free and open to the public.
“Lynda Benglis’s exhibition with Pace marks several firsts for her, not only her first show with the gallery but also her first solo exhibition in the Bay Area in over fifteen years,” Marc Glimcher, Pace Gallery President and CEO, has noted. “The wide-range of works featured in this exhibition underscores her resourceful and experimental approach to materials and her preoccupation with how the human body interacts directly with objects, which has enabled her to constantly develop otherworldly forms throughout her nearly sixty-year career. Her restless creative drive has earned her a unique place as a central figure both within post-minimalist and contemporary sculpture and we’re very excited to present such a significant show of her work at our gallery in Palo Alto.”
Although Benglis is most commonly associated with her groundbreaking pours—paintings consisting of pigmented latex poured directly onto the floor—that radically confronted the male-dominated art world of the 1960s, she has continued to develop a diverse body of multi-media work that challenges our visceral senses. Benglis’s affinity for unorthodox materials, and her fascination with forms, inspires her to revisit and expand the material possibilities of some of her earlier pieces, while simultaneously producing new works that redefine the dialogue around sculpture. Like a number of contemporary artists represented by Pace, such as Robert Irwin, James Turrell, and Mary Corse, who are pushing the limits of their pioneering work, Benglis’s recent work continues to build upon her genre-bending legacy.
Highlights from the exhibition include seminal works such as Eat Meat (1969/1975)—an early poured foam work which Benglis later cast in aluminum. Another central piece is Swinburne Figure I (2009), which responds to the classical torso works which Benglis made in the 70s extending the sculpture beyond the wall, and evoking the Caryatids of the Erechtheion on the Acropolis. Grounding the exhibition is one of Benglis’s most recent works Elephant: First Foot Forward (2018), a large-scale bronze sculpture based on a series of recent ceramics that push the traditional scale of the medium and its material possibilites. There are also a number of sculptural works in paper, such as Georgia on My Mind (2018), which is comprised of glitter cast in handmade paper over a chicken wire armature.
In addition to her exhibition at Pace, this fall Benglis will be the subject of several projects, exhibitions, and events in the U.S. and abroad. On October 15, Benglis is being honored at Storm King Art Center’s Annual Gala in New York for her innovative contributions to the medium of sculpture. Opening in November, the museum of Cycladic Art in Athens, Greece will present a major exhibition of her work curated by Dr. David Anfam. Looking ahead to 2020, the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas will present a solo exhibition of her work. Also in 2020, a monograph published by Phaidon is scheduled for release.