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Lynda Benglis, 2018
Text by Judith Tannenbaum
95 pages, Softcover
Published by Locks Art Publications
ISBN: 978-0-9982036-8-3
$25.00

"During the eighties, the metal reliefs grew in both complexity and scale.

Starting as relatively simple bunched and folded forms, they became

significantly larger over the years, extending out in several directions on the

wall, often from a central knot or bow. Despite the rigidity and sheer weight

of the material, the metal sculptures miraculously seem to retain the

lightness and flexibility of the original mesh understructure, appearing to

float like billowing cloth. A key work from this period, Kearny Street Bows and

Fans (1985), is composed of five separate forms that seem to fly across the

wall, defying gravity.

Titles from this series, such as Hydra (1982) and Megisti II (1984), have

Greek references including ancient or mythological figures, celestial

constellations, and place names.4 Considering Benglis’s Greek family

background (on her father’s side), one cannot help but associate these

dramatic pleated forms with the draped garments of classical statues or

patterns on ancient columns. In fact, Benglis made several trips to Greece

with her paternal grandmother, who was born on the island of Kastellorizo

(also known as Megisti) and took the artist-to-be to see the Acropolis in

Athens for the first time when she was only eleven. The six larger-than-life

size Caryatids on the Erechtheion must have impressed the young Benglis,

with their dignified postures and drapery carved so it simultaneously covers

the female figures and still reveals the shapes of their bodies. Whereas the

Greek sculptor carved away or subtracted material from a block of stone,

Benglis extends sculptural traditions as she works with pliable materials over

an armature to build up form. But like the ancients, Benglis’s pleated or

draped surfaces become synonymous with their forms."

- from Lynda Benglis: Moving Forward, Circling Back by Judith Tannenbaum