Since the 1960s, Lynda Benglis has been celebrated for the free, ecstatic forms she has poured, thrown and molded in ceramic, latex, polyurethane and bronze. In her new work, she turns to handmade paper, which she wraps around a chicken wire armature, often painting the sand-toned surface in bright, metallic colors offset by strokes of deep, coal-based black. At other times she leaves the paper virtually bare. Continue reading Lynda Benglis: New Work, at Cheim & Read
Cheim & Read has a must-see exhibit up through January by one of our favorite artists, renowned French-American sculptor Louise Bourgeois. The sculptures in this exhibition, which, appropriately, is called Suspension, all hang from the ceiling, which was lots of fun to experience at the very crowded reception on October 30th. The show also includes a group of drawings from the 1940s, in which pendulous forms are delineated in black ink, the selection of works traces the theme of suspension throughout Bourgeois’s long career. I actually didn’t discover her work until I saw her massive career retrospective at the Guggenheim back in 2008. She passed away in 2010 at the age of 98.
Spanning more than forty-five years – from the organic Lair forms of the early 1960s and the Janus series of 1968, to the cloth figures of the 1990s, the hanging heads of the 2000s, and the torqued spirals of shining aluminum made in the last years of Bourgeois’s life – these hanging sculptures demonstrate the myriad ways in which she approached material, form and scale. Like all of Bourgeois’s works, they are also highly autobiographical.
The very physicality of Bourgeois’s work – its density and weight – is offset by the seemingly effortless, floating state in which they are presented. Eschewing the traditional sculptural base, Bourgeois positions her work in dialogue with the viewer and surrounding environment. Tethered to the ceiling but by no means static, her sculptures have the potential to revolve on their axes, providing a sense of movement and instability.
The implied vulnerability is especially profound in works like the polished bronze Arch of Hysteria (1993), in which a male figure hangs from a cord attached at the pelvis.
The double-headed fabric Arch of Hysteria (2004), in which male and female torsos are fused and hung at the waist; or the bronze Femme (2005), which is suspended by the figure’s pregnant abdomen.
Other works are similarly evocative. In Henriette (1985), a portrait of the artist’s sister, a single prosthetic leg never reaches solid ground, while the elongated rubber legs of Legs (1988) stop just shy of the floor. The soft folds and flaccid double ends of the androgynous Janus series (1968), though cast in bronze, seem exposed and defenseless. One – Hanging Janus with Jacket – seeks protection under a hard outer shell. The Quartered One (1964-65), conjures images of beef hanging in a slaughterhouse.
Late works, like Untitled (2004, Top photo in this post) and The Couple (2007-09), manifest the implications of suspension within their forms – coils of aluminum weave in and out and over each other, as if echoing the spiraling and spinning of which they are capable. Various associations with hanging – suicide and murder, as well as the connection between mother and child through the umbilical cord – are further explored in the exhibits catalogue by Robert Pincus-Witten, as he examines the trajectory of Bourgeois’s work.
Suspension by Louise Bourgeois will be on Exhibit Through January 10, 2015 at Cheim and Read, Located at 547 West 25th Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District.
New York City! You literally only have a few more days to make it to Cheim & Read to see Ghada Amer’s gorgeous and provocative mixed media exhibit, Rainbow Girls. An Egyptian-born artist who now lives and works in New York, Ghada Amer is well known for brightly-colored, embroidered “paintings” in which depictions of women, often appropriated from soft-porn magazines, are carefully stitched and sewn on the canvas. Extra thread is left to hang from the images’ contours like drips and splashes of paint, abstracting and obscuring the figures.
By using the traditionally feminine, domestic activity of embroidery to re-contextualize her subject, Amer confronts cultural objectification of the female form, repositioning it for a feminist dialectic. In new works for this exhibition, all completed between 2012 and 2014, Amer also introduces text – both English and Arabic – to her compositions, thus merging language with form and literally weaving the two together.
Distorted by knots, webs, and skeins of embroidery thread, Amer’s text is a feminist “base” on which she situates her imagery. For example, Simone de Beauvoir’s statement, “One is not born but rather becomes a woman” vibrates behind the candy-colored threads of The Rainbow Girl.
Also in the exhibit are a series of very cool metal sculptures, in which word and image are calligraphically intertwined to create open, filigreed structures. You can see ladies faces in the one pictured above, and below.
The sculptures are “reminiscent of Mashrabiya” – the latticed wooden screens found in traditional Arabic architecture, which allow one to see out without being seen.
Rainbow Girls by Ghada Amer will be on Exhibit Only Through Saturday May 10th, 2014 at Cheim & Read, Located at 547 West 25 Street, New York.
Ground breaking sculptor/artist Lynda Benglis is always doing something interesting. Her newest work is an engaging series of abstract ceramics made in New Mexico, where she lives part time. In this exhibit at Cheim and Read, Benglis’s seemingly random shaped, clay-based sculptures retain the earthy, elemental, primal nature of clay, and highlight the material’s unique susceptibility to the artist’s touch. The variety of bold textures on each sculpture is extremely visually pleasing, and each one is unique and different. Continue reading New Ceramic Works by Lynda Benglis at Cheim & Read
The Charles Clary exhibit at Nancy Margolis has been up since December, but the opening reception wasn’t until January 9th. So I don’t feel too out of it that I had my first chance to stop by this past week on the way to Cheim and Read, and could not resist snapping few photos of his colorful and delicately structured artworks for the blog.
This is the first exhibition for Clary ( a Tennessee native) with Nancy Margolis Gallery. These intriguing constructions are created from towers of layered, brightly colored paper. The sculptures, precise and labor-intensive, reveal a phenomenal color sensibility and an original expression distinctly his own.
Exact cuts and layered stacks of thin paper make up his geometric volumes of variegated textures and sinewy shapes. Forms are reminiscent of microbial colonies, sound waves, fractals and topographical landscapes. The collected sculptures in the photo directly above remind me of chunks of driftwood on the beach.
A palette of rainbow like colors playfully invite viewers to venture into the vivid creative world of Clary’s sculptures, ever-expanding, pulsing, and surreal.
I really enjoyed photographing these sculptures, which are even more vibrantly colorful in person. Check them out before the exhibit closes in just under 2 weeks.
Sculptures By Charles Clary will be on Exhibit through February 1st, 2014 at Nancy Margolis Gallery, Located at 523 W 25th St. New York NY 10001. Gallery Hours are Tuesday – Saturday 10: 00 AM – 6:00 PM.