'Her movements are incisive - both combative and dance-like...Now she begins to tear at the mouths of the tubes, peeling back the ripped clay like the skin of an orange. Placing the wooden bat inside another tube, she strikes it from within like the clapper of a bell raising weals on its thick skin. She sashays between tubes, casually butting one with her hip, then grasping another in a bear hug, she squeezes it with her knees, collapsing the sides...The results are a kind of carnage.'
Andre Bogle From the Furnace
Thomas Dane Gallery is pleased to announce Planar Device, an exhibition of new work by acclaimed American artist Lynda Benglis (b. 1941). This exhibition is Benglis' second at the gallery, following her 2012 survey show, the first ever held in the UK.
Born in Lake Charles, Louisiana, Benglis took the New York art world by storm in the late 1960's with flamboyant pictorial sculptures from latex and foam that defiantly challenged the cool detachment of Minimalism and Pop and the machismo of her male counterparts. A profligate innovator, Benglis went on to embrace a multitude of materials: polyeurethane, aluminium, copper, wax, glass, neon and video while doing so she collapsed formal hierarchies and accepted codes. For the last forty years she has pursued her own idiosyncratic path and is now hugely influential to several generations of artists.
Benglis experimented with clay as a student in the 1960's, but did not produce a substantive body of ceramics works until the 1990's. Her newest work, presented here, was made in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she has lived seasonally for many years. Ceramics appear to be an ideal medium for Benglis, combining the pictorial surface of painting with the sculptural form in space. Rather than using a potter's wheel, Benglis manipulates extruded tubes and slabs of clay directly with her hands by pinching, pulling, squeezing, punching, crushing, and stacking them into complex sculptural compositions. These ceramics are no less intense and epic than the 'frozen gestures' of her most celebrated monumental sculptures, such as her spills and cantilevered pours of the 1970's.
As with all her work, Benglis celebrates colour with both abandon and discrimination. She uses a variety of slips and glazes, shiny and matt, to create a spectrum from the most acidic and artificial to the most primeval. She often leaves whole areas unglazed highlighting the nakedness of the hardened clay. With little predetermination, the works appear through certain intellectual and manual actions, involving the eye, the hand and the body, flowing out of information in the material itself. This direct relationship with materials and process connects Benglis to artists of the post minimal generation - Richard Serra, Eva Hesse and Bruce Nauman.
Lynda Benglis lives and works in New York and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her work is in important public and private collections and is exhibited extensively. She was the subject of a 2010-11 international retrospective, which travelled to the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; the van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; Le Consortium, Dijon; New Museum, New York and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.
Benglis' first museum survey in the UK will be held at The Hepworth Museum, Wakefield from February to July 2015 and curated by Andrew Bonacina.
An opening reception of Planar Device will take place on 3 September from 6-8pm at 3 Duke Street, St. James's.
For exhibitions and sales enquiries please contact Martine d'Anglejan-Chatillon: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Exhibition dates: 4 September - 4 October, 2014.
Gallery Hours: Tuesday to Friday 10am-6pm, Saturday 12pm-6pm. Admission Free.
Tel: +44 (0) 20 79252505. Nearest Tube: Green Park or Piccadilly Circus.