Sensuality in the Abstract will present the work of six artists--three painters and three sculptors. This group exhibition is the second consecutive Frank Lloyd Gallery exhibit to focus on content and formal issues, marking the expanded exhibition program of the gallery. Abstract painting alludes to sensuality in many ways, such as the subjective use of color, or the suggestive use of form. The pictorial reference to eroticism and sexuality that can be used in figurative painting is not present in these works. Instead, the paintings allude to a sumptuous visual presence, by incorporating rich color relationships. In a similar manner, the sculptors DeVore, Benglis and Price present abstracted form with surface color that ranges from subtle to intense.
Craig Kauffman's wall relief sculptures are his most well known work. Throughout his career, Kauffman has explored the use of unorthodox materials, as most writers have noted. "Kauffman's work has maintained its radiant color and its emphasis on certain sensuous physical properties of his materials," according to Susan C. Larsen.1 However, it is through his integration of sprayed color and shape that he achieves the lush presence of his vacuum formed acrylic wall reliefs. "Glossy and symmetrical, the work's visually wet surface engenders anatomical, sometimes overtly sexual, comparisons."2 The exhibit will include two acrylic wall reliefs, one in the shape of a doughnut, and another from a series, which is playfully known as "dish".
Richard DeVore made reference, throughout his career, to the body. The medium of ceramics is particularly suited to this association, and as Michael Duvas and Sarah Bodine have noted, "…pottery provides DeVore with a multi-sensual experience that does not discriminate between the haptic and the optic, but incurs a holistic response of body and mind."3 Richard DeVore's work not only incorporates corporeal references in exterior form, but also uses a fold, crease or orifice within the interior of the vessel. The layers of fired glaze and pigment seem to mimic the subtle gradations of skin color. DeVore seems to extract the essence of the profiles and curves of the body, and to wrap them in warm, fleshy tones.
Ed Moses has recently worked outside of the painterly grid, developing (through"mutation", as he describes it) a body of work infused with color. These paintings relay a sensuous touch in combination with lush color. The dominant themes of the new work are swirling and looping abstraction, with an open and lyrical sense of pictorial space. Moses will be represented by two recent paintings.
An influential sculptor active since the late 1960s, Lynda Benglis has developed a diverse body of work while focusing on aspects of process, fluidity, and the physicality of form. Roberta Smith reviewed a recent show for the New York Times. "Ms. Benglis is a supremely intuitive, physical artist with an extravagant sensibility and an elusive goal: to give liquidity permanent and dramatic form."4 Over the course of her career, Benglis has employed a range of materials, from poured latex to foam to bronze, turning to clay in the early 1990s. Describing the work as evidencing Benglis' artistic maturity, Roberta Smith wrote, "The best are fascinatingly rich in the play of surface and form and in what can only be called abstracted sexuality…"5
Larry Bell, best known for his investigations of the complexities of highly refined surface treatments of glass, has an extensive history with collage, as well. His recent collages, made by a process of laminating layers of film, acetate and paper, incorporate the artist's phenomenal sense of space and illusion. The works are also infused with rich color relationships, and saturated with metallic iridescence.
Over the past decade, the work of Ken Price has shown a sensibility that could be called polymorphous perverse. As Christopher Knight noted in a review in the Los Angeles Times, "Like life forms crawling out of the sea, these aqueous shapes further evolve into male and female sex organs. Phallic and vaginal forms interpenetrate."6 Color, in multiple layers of acrylic paint that is indeterminate yet decidedly sensual, is applied with pleasure. As New Yorker art critic Peter Schjeldahl wrote, "Saggy aspects of the forms dramatize gravity, even as intricate surfaces and lambent colors vaporize heaviness in the eye. Price's balance of bodily and optical appeal is masterly. One succumbs to it with a glad sigh."7
1 Larsen, Susan C., Sunshine and Shadow: Recent Painting in Southern California, p.7
Fellows of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 1986.
2 Armstrong, Richard, Craig Kauffman: Wall Reliefs from the Late 1960s, Whitney
Museum of American Art, 1987.
3 Duvas, Michael and Bodine, Sarah, The Myth of Fingerprints, American Ceramics, 7/4,
4 Smith, Roberta, Lynda Benglis (Art in Review), New York Times, February 1, 2002
6 Knight, Christopher, Price's Lush Work Defeats Language, Los Angeles Times,
January 26, 2001.
7 Schjeldahl, Peter, Feats of Clay, The New Yorker, October 6, 2003.