Art Review: "Lynda Benglis: Glass Masks"

Lynda Benglis is perhaps best known for her confrontational advertisement in the November 1974 issue of Artforum that depicted her naked, wearing sunglasses and holding a giant, realistic dildo at her crotch. Some critics felt it was a powerful, provocative image attacking a male-dominated art establishment; others called it over-the-top and exploitative.

In the years since, Benglis has let her sculpture speak for itself, and these new glass works definitely impress. Seemingly inspired by tribal masks, they must be seen up-close and in-person to grasp the detail and embedded layers of color and luster. In shape, they resemble giant bottles or vases that have been stretched and augmented with shards of colored glass and copper wire.

Each "mask" has a short bottle neck at the top, along with facial features rendered by either shaping the glass surface or twisting wire to create an abstract face. Interestingly, all the pieces are named after towns in Louisiana: " Goldonna," "Simsboro," "Tickfaw" (Benglis is originally from Lake Charles).

In the gallery, audio of chirping birds is played, giving the show a solemn vibe--like an exhibit of Mardi Gras relics washed up after the storm surge.

Through July 30, Texas Gallery, 2012 Peden. 713-524-1593

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