Robyn Benson is an artist based in Edinburgh. Her work centres around creating temporal, self-sufficient structures that explore how a structural equilibrium is obtained through counterweights, counteracting forces and material tension.
Here she talks about her process and upcoming solo exhibition From A Horizontal Line at St Margaret’s House, Edinburgh.
Often evolving from diagrams and technical drawings, my work seems to come from a fascination in the relationship between principle geometric forms and reoccurring systems of support. The diagrams act as propositions, exploring how one shape defines another, creating parameters within the drawings that are transposed into the physical constructions through the introduction of load and/or directional forces.
The Transition from diagram to actual structure is reliant on engaging material properties of mass, flexibility, elasticity and strength, composing each structure from the minimum material components possible keeping every element necessary to the overall stability. Most of the time the works are constructed consecutively; the act of making one will lead to another. So there is a constant process of dismantling and reconstruction in which materials get repurposed as the idea moves on. However, the use of repeating identical elements (i.e brick) is purposeful and intended to construct visible units of measure within the structures that can be compared throughout the body of work.
From A Horizontal Line collates an ongoing series of work that focuses on capturing the material tension produced when creating a curve from a linear form. The work is based on the idea that condensing a straight line between two opposing points, usually positioned at either end, will produce a curve. Therefore all the works in the show originate ‘from a horizontal line’ and through an addition of load/force a curve is formed. The material tension of the curve itself supports the load/force, creating a continuous reactionary process between the components that is perfectly, but tenuously, balanced.
This notion of constructing a curve has always been of significant interest and particularly present in the drawings. Usually beginning with the cube structure, the curve is drawn freehand according to points mapped out from the surrounding cube/square, identifying the key points on the curve that create its shape. Acting as diagrams, the drawings all aim towards demonstrating some form of physical construction that may or may not be realised directly, but aspects are explored in the sculptures.
Utilising the curve within the sculptures has always been more difficult than other works. The tensions can change over time making something that was initially balanced suddenly spring outwards, or curl up and collapse. A small amount of trial and error is needed to find the right amount of force and where exactly to apply it. Often it is just a case of adjusting angles and placements or simply using two bricks instead of one. Eventually, the equilibrium is found and the structural stability within a kinetic interaction is achieved, perpetually paused in motion.
Robyn’s exhibition From A Horizontal Line will be on at St Margaret’s House, Edinburgh from Saturday 27 June – Sunday 12 July with the preview happening tomorrow, Friday 26 June. Find out more information here.
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