Studio Sunday: Lee Bontecou

A blback and white photo of Eva Hesse in her studio looking at an in-progress work


Today, let’s look inside the studio of American artist and sculptor Lee Bontecou. Hesse had an unfortunately short but very interesting career as one of the most celebrated sculptors of the post-minimalist movement of the 1960’s. The style of sculpture that she often worked with is sometimes called “anti-form,” and it’s easy to see how this name would apply to Hesse’s works, which celebrate their materials, as she experimented with new and sometimes strange mediums for the sculptural art form.


In the above photo, Bontecou’s studio looks more like an industrial workshop, and she appears to be doing some metal-working. There exist many photos of Hesse working in her studio, and each showcases the different processes required for working with a wide range of different materials. I like the way Hesse looks to be standing back, momentarily, from the two large forms that she is working on. In this photo, Hesse’s studio seems rather stark and warehouse-like, but in others, when she is working with lighter materials like textiles, the whole room seems to take on a softer aura.


This idea of the materials determining the tone of a sculpture and the space around it prevails in Hesse’s works as well. I find that her sculptures tend to take on an organic, botanical persona when I look at them, and they really make me see the beauty in the barest of materials, and things that we wouldn’t think of as fine art, but perhaps merely detritus.

[image source]

Written by: Dallas Jeffs
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