New Graham Bennett sculpture to be unveiled at Lincoln Uni
8 October 2013
- for immediate release
New Graham Bennett sculpture to be unveiled at Lincoln University
A sculpture by internationally-recognised, award-winning Christchurch artist and Lincoln University’s current sculptor-in-residence, Graham Bennett, will be unveiled on the campus on Wednesday 9 October at 1.30pm.
sculpture, named ‘Oversight’, alludes to environmental
issues, both globally and locally. It features a faux
scientific mechanism referring to the environmental clock
– an international measure of the state of the environment
– and a two-metre long stainless steel figure of a man
atop a six and a half metre pole. The figure is designed to
rotate in the wind.
Mr Bennett, who created the gateway sculpture at Christchurch Art Gallery and other major works in New Zealand and all over the world, was welcomed as Lincoln University’s sculptor-in-residence in February this year.
Jacky Bowring, head of the School of Landscape Architecture at Lincoln University, says they were already very familiar with Mr Bennett’s work. “We were very pleased that he applied for the role, as we believe his work resonates with the Lincoln ethos of relating to the land and landscape. It’s very exciting for us. The sculpture is amazing and it will be really nice to see it shared with the world.”
Mr Bennett’s piece joins the University’s extensive art collection, including sculptures from two previous sculptor-in-residence artists, Chris Booth and Neil Dawson.
Mr Bennett says the sculpture is the third in a series of pieces he has created, which represent issues confronting the planet. He refers to times on the environmental clock to demonstrate the importance of the issues. “The philosophical lever on the mechanism refers to what environmental science is telling us about the planet and the stage it is at.
“So, this sculpture is about how we, as inhabitants of this earth, tend to ignore reality and disguise this situation that we may be in. It’s about asking questions concerning these global issues – is there something we should or could do? And if we all did something, would it make a difference?
“I felt the environmental issues the sculpture focuses on were appropriate to the students and a university that is intimate with the land and land use.”
A telecommunications pole from Antarctica, which had been donated to Mr Bennett, was used for the sculpture. “The pole has a lot of history,” he says. “It has scars on it from its former life, but I chose not to paint it or pretty it up, and instead added words to it that relate to the theme of water use and land use.”
The sculpture also incorporates a bucket that catches rainwater and is designed to tip out when full, Mr Bennett says. “Some of the water will evaporate, but it may occasionally tip out on an unsuspecting student.”
As a way of involving the School of Landscape Architecture students in the project, Mr Bennett asked them to come up with words relating to the theme of water. The words were riveted on the post in shiny letters to catch the light, with the question ‘Does it play on your conscience?’ at the base.
“I felt that the more the students could be involved in some way, the better,” says Mr Bennett. “They will always be a part of it, so it’s a nice connection. Particularly for first year students, who will be able to come back each year and see their contribution.
“Also, as students of landscape architecture, they will be designing for various environments in the future, so it gave them some idea of how this sort of process works.”
The sculpture is located between the Stewart Building and the Landscape Architecture Building, and is surrounded by carefully placed native plantings.
“I would like to think that this sculpture complements Chris Booth’s work and makes an interesting grouping with the intimate ceramic work by Cheryl Lucas,” he says.
The first of the three sculptures in Mr Bennett’s series was exhibited at the 2012 International Arts Festival at Hangaram Art Gallery in Seoul, and is now permanently on display at the International Sculpture Park in South Korea. The second sculpture was showcased at the Sculpture on the Golf exhibition on Waiheke Island and is currently being reinstalled in Nelson.
The Sculptor-in-Residence initiative was funded by an art auction that was held at the School of Landscape Architecture’s 40th anniversary in 2009.