Collectively, Sharon Bennett and Dan McDermott have 30 years experience as professional artists.
Funded by an ACE project grant, their participatory installation Twenty Years is currently touring Southampton City Art Gallery, Old Fire Station, Oxford, The Herbert, Coventry and Museum in the Park, Stroud.
Twenty Years was first presented at Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth in June 2019 and they were shortlisted for Best Visual Artist at the 2019 Portsmouth Guide Awards.
Bennett & McDermott’s new project, Town Time, will premier at The Museum in the Park Stroud in August 2022.
Bennett & McDermott both have individual practices that feed into the collaboration.
Working with community groups, artists or family and friends Sharon Bennett’s collaborative practice blurs the boundaries between the positions of artist, artwork and audience. Bennett is co-founder of artist duo The Women’s Art Activation System (WAAS) with Sarah Dixon. In 2021, The WAAS were commissioned by an AHRC funded consortium of Axisweb, Social Art Network and Manchester Metropolitan University in a Social Art for Equality Diversity & Inclusion research project (SAFEDI). For their commission the WAAS explored The National Gallery in London. Out of their research they devised & piloted The Milky Way, a game-activity for gallery visitors to play exploring breastfeeding in paintings.
The WAAS performance A Visit by the Officials of the Bureau for the Validation of Art, was presented at Social Works?: Live commissioned by Axisweb, Grace Exhibition Space in New York City via live stream during the COVID-19 lockdown, Offbeat Festival at The Old Fire Station, Oxford and SVA, Stroud. The WAAS were awarded a Lottery Community Fund grant to present their project The Baby Makers, a series of facilitated workshops for women in pregnancy and post birth. Bennett has been interviewed by a-n for their Artist Parent Resource series and was awarded an a-n bursary in 2020 and 2022. Bennett has worked with Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth on a number of projects including being artist in residence in 2018 and 2019.
Dan McDermott is an experienced artist working primarily in painting and printmaking. His works have been placed in private and corporate art collections worldwide. He has had numerous solo exhibitions, has been included in over 60 group shows and international art fairs and is currently represented by Alon Zakaim Fine Art.
Bennett and McDermott are based in Stroud, Gloucestershire where they live with their two daughters.
Our collaboration has a number of ideas or guiding principles that are emerging; they are:
We hope to embody these notions in what we do now and next.