When we were in Cyprus on our Leonardo da Vinci Fellowship we started making collages using a mixture of digital and handmade techniques. They are quite personal and give us a way of working quickly and collaboratively.
Our agent Ivan Tennant wrote this about them in 2005 –
‘Ivan Tennant and the husband and wife team, Rutter and Bennett, have collaborated on a number of public art projects over the last few years. Of particular interest to us are a series of collage works. These have become a central part of the artists’ practice.
These works are intensely private. They seem to exist on two levels; Evelyn Bennett has recently given birth to their first child, Alf. The collages use colours and a visual language that evoke pregnancy, birth and childhood. They also suggest a unity; a dialogue is going on between two or sometimes three forms. It conjures therefore the close bonds of family life. Christopher Rutter writes, “much of our work derives from a kind of underground daydreaming of anxieties, joys, terrors and real experiences; of our childhood lives, parenting, conception, birth, gender and sexuality, the dynamics of our relationship.” The subject matter is therefore more complex than the process of becoming a parent; it reaches into the ‘dynamics’ of their relationship as it has evolved while they have known one another.
The works should not be described as overtly conceptual, despite the connection with notions of the unconscious. From the artists’ point of view they are an intuitive expression of their own feelings and emotions. A too studied analysis or justification of the works would kill them. “The work comes out of a semiconscious, ‘other’ state that is hard to describe, an interaction that exists between us. We are always concerned that turning the spotlight on it may cause it to shrink away and disappear.” For me personally, the works evoke the kind of immediate, intuitive pleasure produced when viewing Matisse’s cut-outs. They offer a combination of ‘low’ and ‘high’ art that enables us to access complex and sensitive issues within ourselves’.
Here are some collages made over a number of years. They are made in a variety of different ways, combining elements of our own imagery and drawing with found media. They are made using digital processes and hand drawn techniques.