Where I’m Looking for water in the Kansas Flint Hills

The morning fog is burning off along Volland Road.

This lucky artist recently spent 10 days in a unique region in eastern Kansas (also Oklahoma and Nebraska) where, because of the underlying geology, the land was long ignored for typical agricultural purposes, leaving the native tall grasses to thrive. Now these “Flint Hills,” and the remaining ancient and untouched tall grass prairie which they support, are treasured and guarded by stalwart residents and outsiders who recognize the value in protecting the land, water, species, history and stories for future generations.

The Tallgrass Artist Residency, for me, provided an opportunity to think about ‘water’ in a place where the tendency has been lack of it! Where is it, what does that mean for us, and how might I visually translate in my own vocabulary, what I find here?….First, to give you the flavor:

IMG_2009croppedThe Volland Store was my home. South of Alma, Kansas, this smartly restored general store once served a thriving community. Today, owner proprietor Patty Reece offers “Art / Community” in the spacious gallery and a Loft for spending nights. I arrived to the evidence of the day’s rain on the table outside.

Mornings I walked up Volland Road, briefly paralleling West Branch Mill Creek…on it’s way to the Gulf… It was in that context of it’s longer journey that the meandering Mill Creek became a fascination and focus of exploration during my residency.

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Relative to the typical rolling Flint Hills landscape, this is greener low country.

IMG_1940The sun is just starting to break through on this foggy morning. (fog=water!)…This view was just across the train tracks that border Volland Store property. The featured image at the top is on Volland Road beyond those tracks.

West Branch Mill Creek, as seen just SW of Volland, in the evening;

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Mill Creek, East of Alma, is robust and colorful, here, looking upstream.

Ripples, reflections, watery favorite. Clouds in the water, Mill Creek south of Alma…from the very wide new bridge.

IMG_1756Also from scenic Hi-way 99 south of Alma, Kansas. Clouds, clouds…

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No water here!  Dry creek beds sometimes indicate dried up springs from ground water depletion, an increasing concern.

 

You are invited:

THE 2017 TALLGRASS ARTIST RESIDENCY SYMPOSIUM, in Manhattan, Kansas, at the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art (10:00 – 2:00), AND TALLGRASS ARTIST RESIDENCY EXHIBITION, in Matfield Green, Kansas, at The Bank Artspace (4:00 – 6:00), both happen on SEPTEMBER 23RD

cropped artworkforBLOGYou will find additional details online or on Facebook…

“Tallgrass Artist Residency”

The experiment that became a show: “Paper Rivers”

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Artists do these weird things. Like fiddle with what they’ve already done. (Also called “revisiting.”) What was “done,” work completed, can be undone or extended and amplified. That’s what happened with this collection and it was so much fun! The history is convoluted, much like a river…

Several years ago, I did these oil paintings of actual river paths – from satellite perspective, our contemporary version of landscape(?). (one body of work.) Later I realized that taking photos across the surface of those oil paintings, from a low angle, and cropping them tightly, revealed curves and perspectives that were so appealing!…as if looking at our world from an airplane or mountain top. I can relate to that. (another body of work.) More recently I pulled one full set (40+) of the archival pigment prints of those photos, along with proofs, along with my X-acto knife, and started isolating the rivers and land depicted in the prints into pieces and parts. Moving these new shapes around, stacking, shifting, and pondering, over and over, I teased the designs into this new body of work which I’ve called “Paper Rivers.” So, these still represent the paths of actual rivers and chunks of land on the skin of our earth, but mashed up a little…or a lot…maybe akin to some of the things we humans do to our natural world.


Near the Missouri River, in the historic Columbus Park neighborhood of Kansas City, Missouri, you will find a cluster of galleries open on third Fridays…now including, the new GILLIS GALLERY, 1029 East 5th Street, which opens with “Paper Rivers” on Friday, May 19th! … and You Are invited!!

OPENING RECEPTION, Friday, May 19th, 6:00 – 9:00 pm; Saturday, May 20th, 12:00 – 4:00. // Closing Reception, Friday, June 16th, 6:00 – 9:00 pm; Saturday, June 17th, 12:00 – 4:00.  Also by appointment via email to lynn@lynnbenson.com  (Don’t be shy, but please do allow several days!)

See ya up the hill from the river!

( ∧ )  Water Finds a Way, 2017, collage of pigment prints, 7″ x 26″

“Four Cups” in Brooklyn show!

Brooklyn’s 440 Gallery is now featuring a juried national exhibition, entitled “Personal is political is personal.”

I’m thrilled to be a part of this with Four Cups, shown above.

Thanks to juror, Sue Coe, for including me in this intriguing and powerful collection of work. The show title caught my interest immediately. I designed Four Cups specifically in response to the call for entries, wishing to  capture in a simple, direct way my deep concern for the state of water, ultimately our most precious resource, and the focus of my current work!

The inside view of the cups tells more of the story………………..

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Through August 7th, 2016; 440 Sixth Street, Brooklyn, NY

Inquiries welcome: lynn@lynnbenson.com

 

The Show Poster and The City…

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For those walking along Baltimore in downtown Kansas City, the poster for my Waterplaces exhibition may have looked like this…depending on the time of day, the reflections from the city, and the light on of those stunning lime green accents within the Kansas City Design Center. KCDC is home base to an academic program for graduate architecture, urban design and landscape design students, ready to tackle real-world projects…and with a constant underpinning of sustainability. Our interests overlapped beautifully!

(www.kcdesigncenter.org)

 

Latest News About The Waterplaces Project!

Several years in the making, I’m excited to share the following information about the exhibition of my 100 small works on vellum reflecting “waterplaces” around the world… and very happy and honored to have received funding from ArtsKC – Regional Arts Council to help support this event!!

L  y  n  n   B  e  n  s  o  n
WATERPLACES: 100 works on paper

**Opening reception: Thursday, October 8, 2015 |  5:30pm – 7:30pm

Artist lecture and (water-focused) panel discussion: Thursday,          November 5, 2015 | 5:30 – 7:30

KANSAS CITY DESIGN CENTER  1018 Baltimore Ave,                             Kansas City, MO 64105  www.kcdesigncenter.org

Exhibition dates: October 8 – November 20, 2015                                Hours: M-F, 9am – 5pm or by appointment

Sponsored by the KCDC and the MARC Regional Water Quality Education Committee with funding support awarded by ArtsKC – Regional Arts Council

 

This upcoming show is the first time that even I will see all of the works up at the same time!!  Hope you can come!!  –LYNN