On view this month Blum & Poe, the gallery presents Excavation, marking the second solo exhibition of works by Lynda Benglis, continuing the artist’s work in soaring, swooping strokes of bronze. Alluding to themes of referencing the artist’s past in relation to her current work, and referring to the interchanges of positive and negative space as if one was digging or displacing earth, similar to the cast-making process.
The ceramics presented here, or “Elephant Necklaces” as the artist refers to them, are the works from which the larger sculptures in the exhibition take their forms. The contrast between hardy cast bronze and fragile ceramic presented in Excavation points to a moment of transition between scale, materials, texture, mass, and coloration. Gender, class connotations, and an overarching cultural tendency to struggle with pluralism subtend these aesthetic qualities, pitting hard against soft, delicate against strong, showy against restrained, and excess against moderation. The observation of these contrasts serves to make the viewer aware that such qualities exist to a greater or lesser degree in all the objects present in the exhibition. They exist also in the viewers themselves, made visible in the reflective surfaces of the bronzes. Through the lens of Excavation’s sheeny exteriors, dichotomies unite to become spectrums.
The show makes the most of exploring Benglis’s body of work; spiraling, twisting, rising forms that reference far back to the artist’s work during the 1970s, taught, swirling forms as if knots twisted from the material itself. The sculptures in Excavation, these almost knots, thumb their noses at this comment. Woven less tightly than their predecessors, these works, which curl and intersect yet never truly bind, create a burning anticipation that rarely resolve. The result are experiences of space preserved in time, vectors of material paused for a moment in a singular formal movement.
Using this material dialogue as a point of exploration and investigation into space and form, the show at Blum & Poe closes June 25th.
– C. Rhinehart
Lynda Benglis at Blum & Poe [Exhibition Site]