The Intellect Itself Has No Sex

68 year-old artist Lynda Benglis enjoys “getting paint off the wall.”   The phrase is a metaphor to describe her voluminous sculptures that have defined her career.  After reading an article in the September Artnews by Ann Landi, Benglis epitomizes what it means to be a free spirit.  Rules don’t guide her because she is an explorer of uncharted territory.

Benglis has always flirted with the art world.  While at some times during her 40+ year career, her art was considered tacky and somewhat erotic.  Today, it’s just absurd to think how much controversy her art caused in the past.  During that time, the art world was clearly dominated by male artists and her art was shocking.

Lynda Benglis: “I never thought of myself as a feminist.  I’m a woman, and I act upon that premise, but it was more that I was interested in my approach to materials as a woman.  Perhaps only a woman could have thought of the idea of pouring latex, for instance, in the sense of painting as something pouring from the body.”  Benglis is successful in turning something like latex into something organic and accessible.

How can she do this?  Benglis: “I defined works according to a human scale, and that’s been one consistent element in all my work.  I’m a humanist first.”  She plays with industrial materials and personifies them.

To Benglis, “…the intellect itself has no sex.”  However, is art viewed the same way?  She has investigated the answer for many years.  An exploration and gift most artists envy.

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