Lynn Benson

Prairie creek river (Konza, McDowell Creek, Kaw) by Lynn Benson

Lynn Benson (American, b. 1945)

Prairie creek river (Konza, McDowell Creek, Kaw), 2018

Oil on canvas

36 x 36 in

Concerns with global water issues permeate the work of Kansas City-based artist Lynn Benson. A self-proclaimed “news junkie,” she makes art channeling an appreciation for the lines and shapes that waterways make on the surface of our earth combined with her attention to current events. She seeks out satellite images of water pathways that feature in news stories related to water issues. From these images she creates abstracted compositions, devoid of manmade infrastructure and emphasizing aesthetically pleasing shapes and color schemes. Prairie creek river was inspired by the 2012 western Kansas drought and was adapted from maps of the Flint Hills. Benson was particularly interested in isolating a portion of the landscape that contained prairie land, a creek, and a river. The shapes carved into the landscape inspired Benson to flip the normal orientation of the cardinal directions, placing south at the top and north at the bottom to produce the flow of lines she preferred. The soft yellow veins in the upper left simulate the topography of the prairie and the large band of white across the lower portion of the canvas echoes the shape of the Kansas River as it flows toward Manhattan. A second, thinner strip of white diverges from the river at the lower left corner and cuts upward to trace the meandering path McDowell Creek cuts in the landscape. Benson’s twofold desire for her work is to celebrate the natural beauty of our earth while bringing more attention to water conservation concerns in our local community.


Lynn Benson was born in New Jersey and raised in Columbia, Missouri. She received her AA from Stephens College in Missouri; her BA in art from DePauw University in Indiana and did post-graduate work in studio art at the University of Missouri. She moved to Kansas City in 1987 and worked for Hallmark Cards between 1989 and 2010. While working in the Creative Research Library, she curated two in-house exhibitions, “Barbie Unplugged” (2003) and “Steinberg: Drawings from the Hallmark Fine Art Collection” (2008). Since 2012, she has had numerous solo exhibitions in the Kansas City area and participated in group exhibitions throughout the country.

— Alexis Littrell, MA student in art history at the University of Kansas, April 2019

KU School of Business Art Collection