The Glass Masks of Lynda Benglis
During her 2010 residency at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington, Lynda Benglis began work on a series of mold-blown glass masks. The elongated, amphora-like forms were an homage to the masks worn by the ngil, a secret brotherhood within the Fang communities of Gabon responsible for overseeing justice. Benglis was inspired by the soft, geometric features and sought to create a body of work that emphasized the beauty she found in them. Based on three original masks, the glass forms show subtle features such as wire “tattoos” or textural imprints from the source material and as a nod to her home state, each is titled for a small town in Louisiana. Works from the series appeared in exhibitions across the country including the Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition, Reconfiguring an African Icon: Odes to the Mask by Modern and Contemporary Artists from Three Continents, 8 March - 21 August 2011 and Lynda Benglis Glass Masks, Texas Gallery, Houston, 16 June - 30 July 2011.