The first UK solo exhibition of cult American artist, Lynda Benglis (b. 1941, Lake Charles, Louisiana) has been announced and scheduled to take place at the Thomas Dane Gallery in London, this February.
Benglis broke through the 1960’s New York art scene with works of poured latex and foam in brash colours, and quickly established her position as a renegade challenging the conventions and dogmatic primacy of Minimalism and Pop. For the last forty years, Benglis has continued to pursue her own idiosyncratic path, borrowing liberally from Abstract Expressionism, Colour Field Painting, Pop Art and Minimalism and inventing a new process within painting and sculpture. Using a broad range of materials – wax, polyeurethane, rubber, zinc, clay, bronze, gold leaf, glitter etc – she renders objects as solid, tangible gesture and creates forms literally as extensions of the body. Her parallel and equally radical body of work in video and photography explores gender relations, power structures and artistic identity. Her defiant nature was exemplified by a mythical advertisement in the November 1974’s edition of ArtForum, in which she posed naked brandishing a dildo – satirising the machismo of the art world. Lynda Benglis continues to be hugely influential to a younger generation interested in such various ideas as feminism, performance, process driven art and grappling with the sacrosanct area of painting.
A long-overdue retrospective of Benglis’ works was recently organized by the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin and has travelled to a number of partner museums in Europe and the US, including the Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven and the New Museum, NY. It has recently opened at MoCA, its final destination. Lynda Benglis shares her time between New York, Ahmedabad, India and Kastellorizo, Greece.
The exhibition will be held in both Thomas Dane galleries, with large pours and sculptural works from the 60’s onward in the new space (No. 3 Duke Street). Smaller plinth and wall based works will be shown in the original at No. 11.
After earning a BFA from Newcomb College in 1964, Benglis moved to New York, where she lives and works today. Benglis’ work is noted for an unusual blend of organic imagery and confrontation with newer media incorporating influences such as Barnett Newman and Andy Warhol. Her early work used materials such as beeswax before moving on to large polyurethane pieces in the 1970s and later to gold-leaf, zinc, and aluminum.The validity of much of her work was questioned until the 1980s due to its use of sensuality and physicality.
Like other artists such as Yves Klein, Benglis’ mimicked Jackson Pollock’s flinging and dripping methods of painting.Works such as Fallen Painting (1968) inform the approach with a feminist perspective. For this work, Benglis smeared Day-Glo paint across the gallery floor invoking “the depravity of the ‘fallen’ woman” or, from a feminist perspective, a “prone victim of phallic male desire”.These brightly colored organic floor pieces were intended to disrupt the male-dominated minimalism movement with their suggestiveness and openness. In 1971, Benglis began to collaborate with Robert Morris, creating Benglis’ video Mumble (1972) and Morris’ Exchange (1973). Benglis produced several videos during the 1970s in which she explored themes of self-representation and female identity.
Lynda Benglis Thomas Dane Gallery London 9 February 2012 – 17 March 2012
Hours: Tuesday to Friday 10am – 6pm; Saturday 11 am – 4pm
Tel: +44 (0)20 7925 2505
Nearest tube: Green Park or Piccadilly