Painting chosen for 2018 River Market Regional Exhibition…

The Kansas City Artists Coalition’s RIVER MARKET REGIONAL EXHIBITION, “Sounds of the City” is KCAC’s 35th Annual Juried Competition, limited to artists in six contiguous states. Juror for this years competition, Saralyn Reece Hardy, is Marilyn Stokstad Director, Helen Foresman Spencer Museum of Art, The University of Kansas.


I’m very happy and honored to be included alongside so many accomplished and thoughtful artists and their work…

Foreground: my piece, “…Kansas City here I come” (Missouri River Headwaters), oil on canvas, 36″ x 36.”   Background: works by Jane Booth and Stephen Proski.

Kansas City Artists Coalition, 201 Wyandotte, Kansas City, Missouri 64105; show runs July 13 – August 10, 2018

 

The Volland Store: my show, the art, the people

Thanks to The Volland Store for hosting “River Compositions: Paintings by Lynn Benson” as well as speaker presentations related to water throughout the course of this exhibition, in collaboration with the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art at Kansas State University

May 5 — July 15, 2018.

From left, above: Cynthia Barnett, journalist and author of “Rain”; Aileen June Wang, curator, Beach Museum of Art; Lynn Benson, artist. Cynthia spoke at both The Beach and The Volland Store.

From left: Liz Seaton, curator, Beach Museum of Art; Lynn Benson, artist; Patty Reece, visionary director head honcho “store keeper” of this terrific Flint Hills region community gathering space called The Volland Store. She does it with a host of enthusiastic supporters and volunteers!

Curator Aileen June Wang, presented “The Art of Lynn Benson”  while inviting lots of engaging discussion. The first of my paintings that she focused on was Sundarbans (below). The region is at the Bay of Bengal encompassing parts of India and Bangadesh, a fertile mangrove forest, the largest in the world.

My artist talk on opening weekend…Riverpuzzle #2 behind me completed! Below is a detail shot of the above installation. Every curvy edge represents a place where water meets land in our real world.

From left:  San Joaquin, The River Herself, and Diamond Springs, all 2018, Oil on canvas, 36″ x 36″

Untitled (Missouri Headwaters), 2018, Oil on canvas, 36″ x 36″

Prairie creek river (Konza, McDowell Creek, Kaw), 2018, Oil on canvas, 36″ x 36″

To see these and more in person:

The Volland Store is open Saturdays and Sundays, noon – 5. Located mid-way between Alma and Alta Vista off of Old K-10, in the Flint Hills of Kansas.

…A treasure!

Preparing for “River Compositions by Lynn Benson”

“River Compositions by Lynn Benson” runs from May 5 through July 15, 2018, at The Volland Store, an elegantly restored general store, now an art gallery, community space, and future residency site near Alma, Kansas, a creek and train tracks!

These brick walls are original! You can see where beams supported a prior second floor, now removed so that light from the upper windows soften and expand the space.

After the paintings were hung I began an installation on the big white wall. Scaffolding readied, I covered long tables with my “Fragments,” archival printed imagery which starts as angled detail photos of paintings. I’ve cut the photos along the curvy boundaries where water meets land, creating distinct lines and shapes, all pointing back to real places in the world.

Some Fragments are from previous paintings, some are from photographs of new oil paintings completed for this show.

Riverpuzzle #2 begins. This might be the night that owner Patty Reece and I worked late!

Did I mention that The Volland Store also has a beautiful loft/apartment where you can spend the night?

(“The Loft at The Volland Store”)

 

 

Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art presents “Water Stories by Lynn Benson”

It was a bright warm day when I delivered final artwork for “Water Stories by Lynn Benson” to The Beach Museum of Art in Manhattan, Kansas. You can imagine my excitement when Registrar, Sarah Price, showed me this banner, installed in advance of opening day, February 13th. (Show closes Saturday, May 26th)

Both the banner image above, featuring Ganges Delta, and the image below, Kansas City 1951, are beautifully adapted within publicity materials for the exhibition.

You’ll see individual Drops in Petri Dishes (as above) cleverly displayed alongside Waterplaces, a suite of 101 drawings on paper vellum, being unveiled for the first time in their new home at the Beach. The photos don’t convey the gorgeous deep blue background color which, along with the expert lighting, make the works pop!

Second graders learning about water and more from Education Director, Katherine Schlageck. This makes me happy!!

More expertise from the exhibit design staff! Total surprise!

Thanks to Museum Director, Linda Duke, and to Curator, Aileen Wang, for developing an extended calendar (below) including exciting collaborative events with The Volland Store Gallery where a second solo show goes up May 5, 2018, providing a month of overlap through May. Please note details below…


AT THE BEACH MUSEUM OF ART

Telling Water’s Story: Art, Science, and Narrative, featuring Cynthia Barnett, Peter Dorhout, and Lynn Benson  Thursday, March 8, 2018, 5:30 pm.    Presentation by journalist and author Cynthia Barnett, followed by a conversation on how the visual arts, scientific practice, and journalism intersect in tackling environmental challenges. Panelists include K-State Vice President for Research and Professor of Chemistry Peter Dorhout and 2018 Gift Print artist Lynn Benson. Cynthia Barnett’s most recent book is award-winning “Rain: A Natural and Cultural History.” Moderated by Beach Museum of Art Director Linda Duke.

Artist Talk by Lynn Benson Thursday, April 5, 2018, 5:30 p.m   Artist Lynn Benson will share details about making the 2018 Beach Museum of Art Gift Print and other recent projects. Light refreshments served.


AT THE VOLLAND STORE GALLERY, 24098 Volland Road, Alma, Kansas:

Telling Water’s Story: Art, Science and Narrative Saturday, March 10, 2018, 1 p.m.   Presentation by journalist and author Cynthia Barnett, followed by a conversation with Jeff Davidson, K-State watershed specialist….Sign up for a pre-event lunch with the speakers on the “Happenings” page at http://thevollandstore.com/, or call 785-499-3616.

River Compositions by Lynn Benson  May 5 – July 15, 2018   Exhibition of new works by Lynn Benson. Open Saturdays and Sundays, Noon-5 p.m., and by appointment. OPENING RECEPTION: Sunday, May 6; Artist will speak at 2:00 p.m.

Curator’s Talk by Aileen June Wang on the art of Lynn Benson  May 20, 2018, 2 p.m.


Come experience these beautiful and smart venues in the Flint Hills!!

“Dancing on the Table” at the Beach Museum of Art

The Friends of the Beach Museum of Art, at Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, commissions a limited-edition print by a recognized Kansas artist for sale to Friends and the public each year, starting in 1934…

A hearty thank you to curator Aileen June Wang for inviting me to be the 2018 Friends of the Beach Museum of Art Gift Print Artist!

Herein are a few notes and photos from this delightful adventure:

I worked in collaboration with thoughtful and inspiring master printer Aaron Shipps at Bedrock Art Editions in the Crossroads arts district of Kansas City.

Here, I am sharing with Aaron my concept for the first time, sure of the basic design, unsure of how to get there. I had long worked in relief printing and some etchings, but never lithography. There was one element of which we were sure, and that was that there would be actual gold leaf where the “feet” of the wavy vertical lines were in contact with the implied water below.

At one stage I drew a gradated layer which ultimately would be a subtle nuance, bringing a creamier tone to the lower gold/water section and to the lower left hand portion of the print. The drawn lines were to extend beyond the edge of the template. We shifted the upper horizon and sky lines shown here into a higher, broader, smoother effect.

Many sessions later this is one of the final mock-ups. You can see the gold leaf, the “gold chunks” tissue strip which weaves through the cut-out “legs.” The paper layer showing through the “legs” in the large off-white lower section feature three separate applied colors blending into each other and angled from upper left to lower right through Aaron’s expertise!

The sky section has four separate papers above the very dark rich green litho ink stretching across the print. I then hand-applied colored pencil on top of that dark green on each print, employing as many as 5 colors on some, always leaving the original darker color to show at the bottom, up against the snappier inked horizon colors.

Leftover legs from the table dancers………………

Lined up and ready to sign.

There (were) ten available for purchase through The Beach. For information about purchasing a gift print, call 785-532-7718 or go to beach.k-state.edu.

It’s official when you see it framed and hanging on the wall!!  (The Gift Print Artist gets a SOLO SHOW!!)

“Wabaunsee Waters” at The Bank Artspace

The Bank Artspace in Matfield Green, Kansas, is hosting the Tallgrass Artist Residency Exhibition through November 19th, 2017 *

Late July, 2017:  Driving west from Kansas City and beyond Topeka the terrain begins to heave, the horizon gets broader and, depending on the season, the colors are not so much of leaves on trees, but of the grasses bending in the wind and the oh so broad sky… But water? The Tallgrass Artist Residency allowed me time and place to search for water, my continuing topic of fascination and of concern, and that search led me to CREEKS!  By the billions, we see them in pastures, fields, and city parks, passing under our roads, fed by springs and rainfall, nurturing plants and wildlife, feeding into our rivers, and determining much about our drinking water.

Mill Creek. Spring Creek. Hendricks Creek. Fox Creek. McDowell Creek. Steak Bake Creek. Maps of Wabaunsee County in particular provided evidence of inspiring, undulating creek paths and confluences adaptable, ultimately, to three works on paper vellum…Here are two !!:

Wabaunsee Waters I and Wabaunsee Waters IIIWabaunseeWatersI_mid_canvWabaunseeWatersIII_mid_canv

Wabaunsee Waters, 2017, Ink, pencil on paper vellum, 24″ x 11″

*You will see my new Wabaunsee Waters pieces alongside the amazing work of fellow residency artists (visual, performing, video, etc.!)…closing date for exhibition may change, depending on the weather. Contact gallery if in doubt.

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.

After the rain - first eveningIMG_1870

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;

IMG_1796FullSizeRender

 

 

 

 

 

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…

IMG_1810

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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”

When do lots of Drops become a puddle?

It happened in May-June of 2017 in Kansas City, MO:

TRIBUTARY -“An exploration of the Missouri River, real and metaphorical” was a month-long deep-dive series of exhibits and programs sponsored primarily* by KC’s amazing Charlotte Street Foundation with  hydrologist Don Wilkison (aka M.O.I. – The Minister of Information) as chief organizer/curator. Artists and scientists presented contemporary art, current scientific research, interactive natural resource workshops and big river adventures to build understanding and appreciation of our nearby very long, complex and valuable natural resource, the Missouri River. It was an inspiring reminder of the value of collaboration across disciplines where parallel mingling of artistic and scientific approaches to problem solving include observation, experience, and intuition.

My contribution included…………

Drops in Petri Dishes, 2016-2017, Glass, acrylic, paper vellum, pencil, ink
Drops in Petri Dishes, 2012-2017, Glass, acrylic, paper vellum, pencil, ink…(c) The dishes are numbered with a hand-engraving tool. There were 55 “Drops” displayed on a white-topped desk-height table, near the broad south-facing front windows of La Esquina Gallery.

Drops in Petri Dishes represents actual places around the world where water meets land, and are “collected” in many cases from places where there is an issue such as water quality, water scarcity, or flooding. There are a few rare “drops” from places where there actually no longer is water, usually because of diversion, drought, or lack of snow-melt.

I’m continuing to add to this collection periodically with no end in sight currently. To date I have collected 125 drops.

To be clear…the collecting/finding part is fiction. “Find” means “make” though I sometimes “find” news stories which, eventually lead to a new Drop. The places depicted and abstracted are real, based on satellite mapping. I started making the drops in 2012, the petri dishes came later…the perfect frame, storage and metaphor.

I have the potential for lots of puddles in my flat files!!

*with additional funding support from Missouri Arts Council and ARTSKC.

 

“Paper Rivers” wall installation a nine foot reach

Every curvy line represents a place where water meets land on the surface of our earth.
Every curvy edge represents a place where water meets land on the surface of our earth. These approximately one hundred pieces of printed archival paper, cut into the shapes of the rivers and surrounding land forms, previously printed as complete images, now connect to each other to form branches, veins, tributaries, as you wish.
Detail of my first ever wall installation!
Detail of my first ever wall installation! (There are five separate pieces within the foreground arched branch.)

Untitled wall installation from my broader “Paper Rivers” solo show at Gillis Gallery (now Gillis Art Lab, in keeping with their intent to showcase experimental work, completed or not.)

Wish I had taken more detail photos! Lesson learned.

 

The experiment that became a show: “Paper Rivers”

WaterFIndsaWay_300dpi_str_sat

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″