ARTS & CULTURE

Lynda Benglis' Massive, Drippy Sculptures Bring Storm King To Life

06/01/2015 10:11 am ET | Updated Jun 01, 2015

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If you are not familiar with Storm King Art Center, the 500-acre sculpture park located about an hour north of New York City, this summer is your time to discover it.

The sprawling green landscape is home to 100 gargantuan curated sculptures, from artists ranging from Sol LeWitt and Richard Serra to Isamu Noguchi and Maya Lin. The great outdoor space feels more like your own personal kingdom than a museum; the white walls and pushy crowds replaced with endless open air, lush grass and artworks so big you'll feel like you wandered into the majestic lair of a very art-savvy giant.

This season, Storm King's majestic topography welcomes new work by sculptor Lynda Benglis, whose exhibition "Water Sources" is a drizzly army of solid movement. Benglis, who is now 73 years old, has been an art world fixture since the 1970s, when she notably posed nude for an ad in Artforum holding a giant dildo. The general tone of her work, though similarly confrontational, is far more abstract, grappling with the sensual properties of materials in motion.

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Lynda Benglis, North South East West, 2009 Cast bronze fountain and steel Four elements, Courtesy the artist; Cheim & Read, New York; and Locks Gallery, Philadelphia.

"Water Sources" channels Benglis' familiar gift for coupling animate forms with the massive dimensions and sturdy materials often associated with a medium long dominated by men. As Benglis awesomely said in an interview with Micah Hauser: "Remember: size does not matter to the feminine."

In her 2009 piece "North South East West," now on display, four bronze figures emerge from the ground like mythical Golems, their mud-colored anatomies resembling everything from an overgrown melting insect to a tidal wave touched by King Midas. Although they're huge, they remain gentle.

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Lynda Benglis, Pink Ladies, 2014. Courtesy the artist and Cheim & Read, New York.

"They are always delicate, but they are configurative," Benglis explained of the works in an interview with The Creator's Project. "I use that word configurative, because configuration is very important. To let the mind read in, the way you read in the clouds and tree formations, you read into your subject. When you read into your subject, you have a kind of reference in how you relate to what you believe you see. So, this is open."

The most attractive sculptures will likely be the "Pink Ladies," a troupe of almost translucent hot pink polyurethane totems that resemble the organic equivalent of the girl gang you want to be in. The ladies, as well as the fountains, feel at once natural, alien and strangely accessible, their human-size proportions providing an anthropomorphic connection that's hard to shake.

Go to Storm King before Nov. 8 to see Benglis' watery beasts in all their massive glory. In the meantime, check out a preview.

  • Background: Cloak-Wave Pedmarks, 1998 Bronze with black patina, polished bronze Courtesy the artist and Cheim & Read, New York Foreground: Migrating Pedmarks, 1998 Bronze with black and white patina Courtesy the artist and Cheim & Read, New York
  • Left: Pink Ladies, 2014. Courtesy the artist and Cheim & Read, New York. Right: Pink Lady (For Asha), 2013. Courtesy the artist; Cheim & Read, New York; and Locks Gallery, Philadelphia. Background: Bounty, 2014. Fruited Plane, 2014. Courtesy the artist and Cheim & Read, New York. Amber Waves, 2014. Courtesy the artist and Cheim & Read, New York.
  • Lynda Benglis, North South East West, 2009 Cast bronze fountain and steel Four elements, each 66" x 7' 6" x 56" (167.6 x 228.6 x 142.1 cm) Courtesy the artist; Cheim & Read, New York; and Locks Gallery, Philadelphia.
  • Lynda Benglis, Crescendo, 2015. Courtesy the artist and Cheim & Read, New York © Lynda Benglis / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY. Photograph by Jerry L. Thomps
  • Left: Pink Ladies, 2014. Courtesy the artist and Cheim & Read, New York. Right: Pink Lady (For Asha), 2013. Courtesy the artist; Cheim & Read, New York; and Locks Gallery, Philadelphia.
  • Lynda Benglis, North South East West, 2009 Cast bronze fountain and steel Four elements, each 66" x 7' 6" x 56" (167.6 x 228.6 x 142.1 cm) Courtesy the artist; Cheim & Read, New York; and Locks Gallery, Philadelphia.
  • Pink Ladies, 2014. Courtesy the artist and Cheim & Read, New York.
  • Lynda Benglis, North South East West, 2009 Cast bronze fountain and steel Four elements, each 66" x 7' 6" x 56" (167.6 x 228.6 x 142.1 cm) Courtesy the artist; Cheim & Read, New York; and Locks Gallery, Philadelphia.
  • Lynda Benglis. Bounty, 2014. Private collection. Fruited Plane, 2014. Courtesy the artist and Cheim & Read, New York. Amber Waves, 2014. Courtesy the artist and Cheim & Read, New Y ork. © Lynda Benglis / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY. 
  • Lynda Benglis, North South East West, 2009 Cast bronze fountain and steel Four elements, each 66" x 7' 6" x 56" (167.6 x 228.6 x 142.1 cm) Courtesy the artist; Cheim & Read, New York; and Locks Gallery, Philadelphia.
  • Left: Pink Ladies, 2014. Courtesy the artist and Cheim & Read, New York. Right: Pink Lady (For Asha), 2013. Courtesy the artist; Cheim & Read, New York; and Locks Gallery, Philadelphia. Background: Lynda Benglis, North South East West, 2009 Cast bronze fountain and steel Four elements, each 66" x 7' 6" x 56" (167.6 x 228.6 x 142.1 cm) Courtesy the artist; Cheim & Read, New York; and Locks Gallery, Philadelphia.
  • Lynda Benglis, Crescendo, 2015. Courtesy the artist and Cheim & Read, New York © Lynda Benglis / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY. Photograph by Jerry L. Thomps
  • Installation in progress at Storm King Art Center, all works by Lynda Benglis. Bounty, 2014. Private collection. Fruited Plane, 2014. Courtesy the artist and Cheim & Read, New York. Amber Waves, 2014. Courtesy the artist and Cheim & Read, New Y ork. © Lynda Benglis / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY. 
  • Lynda Benglis. Bounty, 2014. Private collection. Fruited Plane, 2014. Courtesy the artist and Cheim & Read, New York. Amber Waves, 2014. Courtesy the artist and Cheim & Read, New Y ork. © Lynda Benglis / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY. 

Also on HuffPost:

  • Lynda Benglis, The Graces, 2003/2005 Cast polyurethane, lead, stainless steel Image: Courtesy the artist and Cheim & Read, New York
  • Lynda Benglis, Wing, 1970 Cast aluminum Image: Courtesy the artist and Cheim & Read, New York
  • Lynda Benglis, Night Sherbert A, 1968 Dayglo pigment, phosphorescence and poured polyurethane foam Image: Courtesy the artist and Cheim & Read, New York
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