LYNDA BENGLIS

I chose to research Lynda Benglis because of the similarities between our medias, however as I researched became surprised by similarities in our practise. For example she speaks about "not depicting something"(13) which I interpret as not trying to replicate an existing recognisable object, something I find a common theme through lots of my work. Her work also seems to explore how to interact with space, so I would hope to see one of her exhibitions in my life time.

In interview (13) Benglis states her pieces are "About nature and mankind about feelings" (13) which interested me because many of her materials are not natural, however they do embody an idea of growth and movement which is something I also get from MccGwire's work.

 Benglis stating her work was "reacting to materials of pop art, and ideas of minimalist. not interested in taking art to final minimal conclusion." (13) made me intrigued to research her work in relation to the time she was working in. (See POSTMINIMALISM book). I did however gather she was not a minimalist because she "wanted art to be more accusative, about more not less." (13). She stated "form and texture create mood and magic of work" (13) which is something I am excited to see happen with my end results.

In my research I discovered this article titled "The women who refused to take her clothes off for Warhol" (14) which I thought would give me a greater insight into how she worked, however was extremely disappointed by the articles lack of insight into her practise. Instead the article taught me more about her life, and went into detail about her nude statement advertisement piece; which I was already familiar from my research into Hannah Wilke. Her statement on her use of the "gaze" (14) made me think I couldn't appreciate this piece because it is not new to me. I imagine the impact would be a lot higher at the time of publishing because female empowerment was less seen during the time of creation.

"Benglis’ concern with making soft things hard while preserving their insouciant memories of softness may or may not have something to do with feminism, phallicism, and other politico-sensualities. She is more concerned, I think, with the Romantic concept of the artist as a force of Nature. Nature can change states – freeze water, melt rocks; Benglis, too, can congeal or liquefy matter – and in the process make sculpture as calculated, precise, and refined as icicles (quoted in press release for ‘Bettina Rheims/Lynda Benglis’, Cheim & Read, New York 2002, http://www.cheimread.com/exhibitions/2002_10_bettina-rheims--lynda-benglis/?view=pressrelease)." (15)

What interests me about this quote is..

"Lynda Benglis is perhaps best-known for the full-colour advertisement she placed in Artforum magazine in 1974, consisting of a nude photograph of herself posing with a large latex dildo. A reaction to the phallocentrism of the contemporary art world, it certainly caused a stir.
Her oeuvre, however, is much wider than merely overt feminist gestures, as visitors to this enthralling 50-work survey show at the Hepworth Wakefield – the first to take place in a UK institution – will discover. 
Describing her 3D sculptural pieces as paintings that have escaped from the frame of the canvas, Benglis was heralded in the 60s as the “heir to Pollock”, when she began creating her so-called Fallen Paintings, pouring liquid plastic on to the floor and against the walls. She is a lover of a wide range of materials – bronze, polyurethane, glitter, paper and film, to name but a few – and she has studios across the globe in New York, New Mexico, Greece and India. 
Throughout her career, Benglis has made a concerted effort to push against any definition and to resist categorisation. “I think artists create their own rules,” she says. “Or break them.”" (16)

The process is a manipulation of the materials that are drawings, I draw in space, with the materials (16)

 
I want to see an image that expresses the material quality or materialness of whatever it is (16)

  

Does it start from the material or the idea? Chicken and the egg (16)

 

I like to invent new forms (16)

  

(Added 29/11/19)

I returned to (14) article to research a gallery I didn't know. I discovered the Hepworth Wakefield Gallery and found the artist Anthea Hamilton on their website, whose "Volcano Table" (17) I felt related to my project. A parallel I drew between Bengalis and Hamilton was the use of blobs, however I felt there were larger distinguishing differences. Firstly, Hamilton's piece was easier to describe than Benglis's work because of the use of everyday objects. The piece is aided by the title which reinforces the exploding idea; the piece could be described as a table with shiny red blobs exploding from it, with a clear retro telephone on the table. Obviously this does not do masses of justice to the piece, however it is easier to describe than Benglis's pieces such as 'Quatered Meteor'. Overall her work is quite ineffable because of it's formless (or reduction of recognisable form) nature. Secondly the use of materials to make blobs had very different impacts, Hamilton's piece has a lighter more comic effect because of the shine (which material I could not find whilst researching, but I expect is fibreglass) whereas Benglis' has much more of a raw natural feel where the material seems to do its own thing in a way. 

(13) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33Fay9DOzZM

(14) http://images.cheimread.com/www_cheimread_com/Times_2_3_15.pdf

(15) http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/benglis-quartered-meteor-t13353/text-summary

(16) https://vimeo.com/119684066

(17) https://news.artnet.com/exhibitions/fall-2016-preview-20-museum-shows-europe-612092

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