By now, Lynda Benglis has been widely recognized as a master of all sculptural mediums. Her last New York show featured spectacular glass works. In this exhibition, her most ambitious in years, she presents large-scale bronzes, medium-sized ceramic pieces and a video installation, all to great effect.
Migrating Pedmarks is an eight-foot-tall bronze sculpture with black and white patina, whose fluid form belies its formidable density. It suggests a figure morphing into an ocean wave. Its hyperactive surface is made of countless finger marks, which had been pressed into the clay used for the mold. Nearby, a video monitor showing an erotically charged film of two women sucking each others' fingers (actually, a 1973 video titled Female Sensibility) refers back to the markings on the sculpture.
On the wall, a biomorphic bronze work covered with gold leaf is an over-the-top variation on Benglis' famous gold knots. And as if all this were not enough, the several recent ceramic pieces on view, with their intricate, open forms and brilliantly colored and textured glazes, must be counted among the best works of her career.
Lynda Benglis, Sept. 12 -Oct. 10, 1998, at Cheim & Read, 521. West 23rd Street, New York, N.Y. 10011.