Gladstone Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Sarah Lucas, her first US exhibition in nearly a decade. Since the 1990s, Lucas has been working with found objects and readily available materials to create works imbued with a distinctive and provocative visual language. Drawing on art historical references, cultural stereotypes, and the British tabloid culture, Lucas creates works that both directly and through subtle innuendo, challenge our conception of gender, sexuality, and identity.
This show features a series of large-scale bronze and cast-concrete sculptures displayed variously on pedestals, and, at other times, installed directly on the floor. Characteristic of Lucas’s practice, the works simultaneously suggest multiple forms, as with the two monumental bronze works Florian and Kevin, which appear as both oversized vegetables and phallic-shaped sculptures. By confronting viewers with objects that are at once familiar and disorienting, Lucas proposes a reading of her work that seeks to subtly subvert socially constructed norms.
Human anatomy has long fascinated Lucas, and even in her earliest works she substituted furniture for human body parts, often adding a suggestion of genitalia. In her recent work, the form of the phallus in particular has been a recurring visual motif, one that she sees as “a perfectly self-contained sculptural form, ‘pregnant’ with meaning.” The exhibition further investigates her interest in the phallus with two cast-concrete works, Eros and Priapus, which are displayed in recumbent positions, resting on pedestals crafted out of crushed cars. Referencing the Greek gods of love and fertility, respectfully, Lucas uses the titling of her work to infuse the sculptures with a humorous gesture. Language and its potential for both poetic alliteration and sly allusion is central to Lucas's works, and her titles often draw on slang, puns, and historical references to invoke allusions that are variously erotic, romantic, and funny.
In addition to the large-scale works, a series of lithe, bronze sculptures composed of abstracted, biomorphic forms, are also on view. Depicting human-like figures caught in various states of repose, the sculptures stand in stark contrast to the large, masculine sculptures that surround them. Referencing the art historical tradition of British Modernist sculpture, the works provide a tactile and immediate experience for visitors, yet simultaneously hint at the ephemeral. Composed of corporeal fragments and organic forms, the sculptures intimate a sense of absence, suggesting an innate fragility within their outwardly sturdy form.
Born in Holloway, London in 1962, Lucas has been the subject of numerous major solo exhibitions both nationally and internationally including: Secession, Vienna; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, U.K.; Kunsthalle Krems, Austria; Kunstverein Hamburg, Germany; Tate Liverpool, United Kingdom; Museum of Cycladic Arts, Athens; Kunsthalle Zurich; Milton Keynes Gallery, U.K.; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; and Museum Boymans-van-Beuningen, Holland. Lucas’s work was also included in the Venice Biennale in 2007 and 2013. Her work is currently the subject of a solo exhibition at Tramway in Glasgow.