Amanda Benson is a member of the Royal Society of Sculptors. She is based at her East London studio. Using everyday materials, she employs a mischievous combination of a unique method of construction of every piece and its placement in any given space.
Pastel colours converse with the most rustic and contrasting industrial materials, together finding a balance and beauty in this unlikeliest of dialogues.
Amanda has exhibited widely in both the UK and abroad.
"Essentially my ideas come from memories, or they come from sketches. From there I’m led by the materials available in front of me, readily to hand. And importantly materials are available in sufficient quantity. I don’t want to use something I have to be over-respectful of, or overly precious with. I don’t want a stretched or a primed canvas that’s expensive and I can’t be free with, that I can’t be daring and experimental with. I use a lot of recycled things.
The experimenting, the `playing with’ – that’s the real starting point. It’s like making three-dimensional sketches, making up models. I’m endlessly trying things out, different approaches, different scales, and introducing new materials. That’s when the thing really begins to appear when the end product really starts to emerge. Then, when I feel happy with the series of shapes, that’s when I start to put them together.
It’s a very organic process. But it’s a highly organized process too. The development phase of coming up with the various shapes is extended and unhurried. Also, the idea of their coming together, the picturing of their formation into a whole, that’s something I take my time with. But the construction phase, that’s something quick and dynamic. Working with material like plaster you can’t hang around, you have to be quick. The final completion phase is energetic, decisive, to the point, and unrelenting.
Envisioning the piece in situ is a thought process that goes on throughout. I’ll picture it from every side, from every angle. Sometimes I’ll make some small-scale maquettes, from cardboard, clay, or plasticine, checking the scale, checking the dimensions. I have to check how the piece will sustain itself, and operate in a given space from a practical point of view also. I have to foresee the use of rods and wiring to support the coming together of the multiples. The larger the pieces I create the more they become architectural".
The initially jarring contrast of colour and support materials is quite deliberate. It leads to a juxtaposition of delicacy and aggression, of the ethereal and the grating and to the fine and the crude. There can be a discordant cocktail of ethereal powder blue and rusty, grating copper wire.