Pink Ladies, 2014
As a young artist living in late 1960s New York, Lynda Benglis made a name for herself by pouring latex over a floor and creating flat and brightly colored sculptures out of it. Her works often seem to drip and spill. They are inspired by the Greek-American artist's lifelong love of the sea, and they frequently come in candy colors.
"Pink Ladies" is no exception: it's a tinted polyurethane fountain. The idea came to Benglis when she attended a kite-flying festival in Ahmedabad, India and watched a bright pink kite hovering in the sky. The work is also a tribute to the fashion and interior designer Asha Sarabhai, who hosted Benglis in Ahmebebad and whose brother Anand became her life partner. (He died in 2013).
"I've always been involved with waves, and the movement of the sea," says Benglis, explaining her fountain works. "I can remember, coming from Lake Charles, being in boats with my father who took me fishing. I grew up having a boat, a long 35-footer wooden Thompson."
"One of the things that always fascinated me was that feeling of the wave and the surge of the sea," she notes. "So I really understood why my art was the way it was, and I realized that a lot of my art had to do with the unconscious, and feelings of buoyance, upside-down or not."
As for pink, it's "a very floral, lush color," Benglis points out. "No color is quite as seductive as this color is in nature. There are so many beautiful pink flowers – rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias ... I hate that kind of matte coloration of bronze, the painting of metal. Metal is metal, and plastic is plastic. The plastics with different refractive indexes reflect all the different colors around them, but also within them – you have a rainbow of colors."
Benglis has had recent retrospectives at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, and at the Hepworth Wakefield Gallery in England. Her work is in the collections of MoMA, the Guggenheim, LACMA, the Whitney Museum and Storm King Art Center, New York. She lives between New York, Santa Fe and Ahmedabad.