This talk will consider the work of American sculptor Lee Bontecou (1931–2022), one of the most singular artists of her generation and one of the few women artists to achieve broad recognition in the 1960s. Beginning in the 1950s and over the course of a decades-long career, her body of predominantly abstract work consistently incorporated an array of figurative, organic, and mechanistic references that suggest various states of transformation between the natural and the man-made. Bontecou ceaselessly experimented with materials that ranged from bronze to welded steel and canvas to vacuum-formed plastic to porcelain and wire mesh. Her self-described quest as an artist was a pursuit of ‘all freedom in every sense.’
Elizabeth Smith is the founding Executive Director of the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation in New York. Previously she held curatorial positions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, and the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto. She has published extensively on Lee Bontecou and curated exhibitions of her work in 1993 and in 2003-2004.