John Kinross Scholar in 1992
Stuart Bennett, Template
How did the experience affect you as an individual?
Being awarded the scholarship validated the work I was making at the time and, while doubt is an valuable tool, it provided me with confidence that is difficult to build without external recognition. It also provided me with time, post-graduation, to think, read, and make work in a different frame of reference.
What was the impact on your practice?
I applied with what I thought was quite a left-field proposal, to shorten the distance in observational drawing by pressing various materials against the surfaces of ancient buildings, monuments, sculptures etc, to understand them more intimately. When I was in Florence I was very conscious of how much looking was going on, the surprising scales of buildings, monuments and sculptures, and the perception of being in a living museum, a bustling spectacle that functioned as a city. I did ‘rub’ buildings but I also had time to think about the work I had made and what I would do next. During and after the scholarship my work integrated with, or interrogated, its surroundings more than it had previously.
What would you say the long term impact has been on yourself and you work?
I took a risk with the application and it worked so that established an approach to my work that continues both as an artist and an educator. The sense that a distinguished panel had selected my work and that I was one of a group of scholars didn’t impact at the time but in retrospect that acknowledgement was vital to me. My work explores approaches to preciseness and uses the fabric of the exhibition space as surface and I’m interested in drawing attention to sensorial and material experiences and the ontological process of making. It is unlikely I could have expressed this at the time but the John Kinross Scholarship enabled and established this way of thinking through doing and reflecting and I’m very grateful for the experience.