Mnuchin Gallery is proud to announce Lynda Benglis: Pleated Works, an exhibition that will highlight the artist’s use of the pleated form from the late 1970s through the 1990s. On view from November 2nd to December 11th, the exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue authored by Laila Pedro. The exhibition is made in collaboration with Pace Gallery, which has represented Benglis since 2019, and Cheim & Read in New York.
Since first gaining recognition in the late 1960s, Lynda Benglis’s work has vastly expanded upon the language of that era through a radical exploration of materials, with an emphasis on their physicality, form, and relationship to the viewer. Biomorphic and at times painterly in her approach to working in three dimensions, the formal qualities of her work underscore the tactile and visceral nature of her practice, wherein she eschews preparatory sketches in favor of more organic experimentation with her chosen media, which can be bent, poured, or sprayed to create her desired effect.
The present exhibition focuses on Benglis’s gold leaf and metallized pleats. Benglis worked on the gold leaf pleats from 1979-1982, and the metallized pleats from 1982 through the 1990s, spanning two decades of her practice. Inspired in part by the fluting and fan motifs of ancient Aegean columns she encountered during a trip to the Louvre in 1979—motifs which directly evoke Benglis’s Mediterranean heritage—the pleats began after other experimentations with fanned and knotted shapes, metallizing, and gold leaf in the early-mid 1970s. Benglis worked with various fabricators to produce these sculptures, although it was her own hand that pleated the wire mesh and knotted, tied, or twisted it into distinctive configurations that convey a sense of voluptuous form and movement. A vaporized metal such as zinc, aluminum, or copper would subsequently be sprayed over the folded mesh, creating a shell-like surface that is finally polished, although the crevices between each pleat evade that polishing, creating a contrast which accentuates the texture, volume, and varying effects of light of each sculpture. “The metallizing technique is particularly suited to Benglis’s interest in transforming states of matter, in organic processes and in the comparisons of hard/soft and liquid/solid that continue throughout her work,” art historian Susan Krane has aptly stated.