Art21 had a great post this week about sculptor Rachel Lachowicz and whether it’s possible to make an abstract piece of art that addresses femininity. In the 90s, Lachowicz remade abstract art done by men, except with materials that are traditionally associated with women. She redid Richard Serra’s lead-plate sculpture One Ton Prop using lipstick and wax and titled it Sarah, for instance. Art21 asks, “Could the clean, seemingly masculine clarity of minimalist sculpture be something a woman working in the 90s could occupy while still being honest about her own position in the world?”
Lachowicz’s current exhibition at Shoshana Wayne Gallery in Santa Monica also mixes abstraction with questions of femininity, and seems to say yes, it can be done honestly. My favorite sculpture here is the one made out of pink soap (top left). Art21 compares it to a Happening by our man Allan Kaprow called Fluids, in which a room is built from bricks of ice and melts in a few days.
Supposedly, the soap smells really good, and that makes you want to touch it. So it’s aesthetically pleasing to more than just the eye. Lachowicz cites Mary Cassatt’s cheesy warm pink paintings as inspiration — Cassatt painted the stereotypes she was expected to live in the 19th century. Abstraction highlights visuality, and Lachowicz balances it with other ways that art can be appreciated.