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LYNDA BENGLIS

by Andy Brumer




"Color Echoes #1,"
mixografia print handcolored
by the artist, 34 x 13 1/2", 2000.









"Color Echoes #4A,"
mixografia print handcolored
by the artist, 34 x 13 1/2", 2000.

(Remba Gallery, West Hollywood) Lynda Benglis continues her diligent exploration of the creative process and offers up again the always surprising products of her art’s serendipitous wanderings. In this exhibition the artist presents three small but delectable groups of work: a series of Mixografia prints hand-colored by the artist, three aluminum sculptural works which hang from the wall, and three small encaustic wax paintings.

The vertically hung Mixografia prints present a group of images created from industrial foam actively and expressively squirted onto the surface from a dispenser, as though applying whipped cream on an ice cream cake. Paying homage to the Abstract Expressionist’s commitment to tap the unconscious through the bodily act of wielding a paint brush (or in this case, a can of foam), Benglis has created a group of four organic, squiggly, swirling, entangled lines that, congeal into single continuous-form objects. Once hardened, these objects are transferred to a plate before being printed on hand-made paper. The artist then hand-paints these prints with water-color. In essence, these works combine the three genres of printmaking, sculpture and painting.

The prints themselves convey a light and refreshing spirit, with the green, yellow, red and blue painted pods recalling Monet’s famous waterlilies. The artist, writing about these pieces, perceives a perhaps slightly more mischievous spirit at work or play. She refers to these sculptural objects as “creatures that yearn to escape from the composition, yet are restrained by (the) fictitious boundaries” of the prints’ very edges. In fact, the paint does give them a kind of kaleidoscopic energy and protean personality, as the shapes seem to shift like dreams from one referential association to another. At first they might suggest clouds, then shells, flowers, butterflies, or evenspiders replete with their webs.


Benglis’ aluminum castings of this same industrial foam achieve a completely different though not unrelated feel. The play between the speed and implied transience of the foam itself and the solidity and permanence of the aluminum in which they are caught and cast results in a group of rather eccentric, ribbed and entwined mounds that glow with a timeless quality.

Just as the Mixografia prints, with their washy hand-painted forms generously spaced on the paper, invite the viewer to roam in and out of playful crevices, these aluminum works, like spiritual silver planets, grow to demand your serious contemplation..

Finally, the small wax paintings almost synthesize these two other bodies of work. The unpredictable flow and energy of their melting wax coupled with the translucency created by the encaustic method reflect Benglis’ commitment to process itself. These works blend the bold solidity of the aluminum castings with the lyrical painterly surfaces of the prints. Though the show consists of only twelve works, they reverberate with sufficient ideas (some dated some new), associations and emotions to make their viewing a satisfying experience.


"Color Echoes #5,"
mixografia print handcolored
by the artist, 34 x 13 1/2", 2000.






"Color Echoes #8,"
mixografia print handcolored
by the artist, 34 x 13 1/2", 2000.