Stuart Bennett is an artist whose work is underpinned by an interest in latent histories of making processes, materials and contexts. Recent exhibitions of his work have focused on pared back and primitive technologies for drawing ‘accuracy’– wooden templates, a brass polygraph, plumb lines. These works explore approaches to preciseness and use the fabric of the exhibition space as surface. The slight interventions draw attention to the architecture, history and status of the place where they are made and installed.
Previously he sometimes worked collaboratively, developing a manual on group activity based on a book with 35mm slides describing the production of plywood and casting a threshold in the middle of a country park in Estonia from concrete made entirely from the park. He has also spent time collecting and DJing vinyl records. He is interested in drawing attention to the sensorial and material experience of a space and time and in analogue, both as one thing comparable to another and in contrast to digital.
He applies technical handmade processes using objects, materials and forms that relate to human use, action and scale. Recent work has been made using drawing curves as objects to create wall drawings. Using templates only once and as the fabric of the work, the work lacks the exact measurement the curves are designed to create.
A brass template called a polygraph has been used to generate diagrammatic shapes. Patented in 1885, the polygraph is a drawing aid that helps to produce an evenness and regularity when producing a pattern that would be difficult to achieve freehand. Stuart’s works suggests demonstration or instruction through close observation and are considered during the process as objects not images. The material and composition of the objects and drawings emphasises the latent historical, conversational and vernacular form of his work. He has developed location specific projects and exhibitions in the UK, Germany, Estonia, Switzerland, Sweden and North America. He is currently the Head of the School of Art at Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh.