1991. Bronze with white patina on rock, 19 ½ x 25 x 10 ½" (49.5 x 63.5 x 26.7 cm). Courtesy the artist and Cheim & Read, New York
Benglis modeled her Snakemare works out of clay and wax wings and cast them in bronze. The tactile surfaces of Snakemare I reflect a process of rolling and pinching clay and pouring sheets of wax for the “wings,” while the sculpture's unruly form, like those seen throughout the series, recalls backbones and vertebrae, or the synapses of the brain firing. Many of the Snakemare sculptures also resemble centipedes-long, many-legged, and frightening insects native to the South. The word “Snakemare” was invented by Benglis, a combination of the words “snake” and “nightmare,” and perhaps an apt description of the emotions evoked by the works in this series.