200 words #8 / Lynda Benglis

Benglis Install 2016_09.jpg

© Lynda Benglis/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.

In the late 1960s and early 70s, the artist Lynda Benglis became known for making expansive poured ‘paintings’; vast slicks of coloured latex poured and dripped in industrial quantities onto the floors of galleries, museums, and even private residences. These sensuous fields of mingling colours might have come from memories of oil slicks seen on the Bayou of her childhood Louisiana. They might equally have developed in response to the large-scale painted gesture which had come to represent America’s first mature statement of its independence in the visual arts; a statement on which men held a monopoly.

Benglis went on to produce increasingly sculptural work and to refine her own visual statements, relying less on what had come before, and striking further into new territory. There were other aspects of Benglis’ work in the 70s, in video art and advertisements, which addressed gender politics very directly. But her unique painterly constructions incorporate so much more in their mysterious, organic presence. Some 40 years on from her initial statements in polyurethane, wax, and bronze, Benglis, in a sun-baked studio in New Mexico, is making work which subtly consolidates decades of experience and experimentation, but looks as fragile as a discarded snakeskin.

Lynda Benglis is at Cheim & Read New York until October 22, 2016.

Lynda Benglis at Cheim & Read

Author: Robbie O'Halloran

Artist and writer working in London

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