Hills and Clouds
2014. Cast polyurethane with phosphorescence and stainless steel, 10'2" x 18'1" x 18'3" (309.9 x 551.2 x 556.3 cm).
Courtesy the artist and Cheim & Read, New York
Hills and Clouds, the most recent sculpture that Benglis has completed, glows after dark. Benglis, who created her first phosphorescent piece in 1971, has long been intrigued by natural phosphorescence, whether found in bioluminescent waters and phosphorescent caves or in the glow of fireflies. She also cites the glow-in-the-dark displays at funhouses that she visited as a child as early influences. With Hills and Clouds, Benglis has said, “I wanted to imply something that appears to rise instead of being connected entirely to the earth.” Benglis was also interested in depicting clouds because of their constant motion and change. “I always work with materials and question how I can push them further. . .How far can I go with the allusion of the material? . . .It's a matter of creating an image that moves.” The fine tendrils of stainless steel within Hills and Clouds reference date palms and the moss-covered limbs and leaves of live oak trees in Louisiana.