Artist Bob Benson will present his vibrant photographic works in the upcoming exhibit “Colorful Abstracts” in the Newman University Steckline Gallery.
The exhibit begins with a Final Friday reception from 5 to 7 p.m. April 27 and will be on display through May 18. Both the reception and admission to the gallery are free and open to the public.
An “Art for Lunch” presentation by the artist will be held noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday, May 1, in the gallery. A light lunch will be served on a first-come, first-serve basis. Guests are also welcome to bring their lunch. This event is also free and reservations are not required.
Benson took on his first photography job as a 10-year-old when he was asked to take pictures of a construction site. A few years later, he started working as a professional photographer’s darkroom assistant.
“I stopped black and white darkroom work 30 years ago when color became more of a factor in photography,” Benson said.
Since arriving in Wichita 10 years ago, the galleries have “happily accelerated my photographic activity,” he said.
Benson is an active member of Gallery XII — the first cooperative art gallery in Wichita — and also exhibits at Tessera Gallery, which is home to one of Wichita’s largest original art collections.
Aside from photography, Benson said he is pretty much retired, although he continues to take consulting trips to Mexico City and teaching trips to Tilburg University in Holland.
“I do a good bit of traveling — mostly by car — enjoying landscape opportunities,” Benson said. “All (of my) previous exhibitions have been about landscape. I’d never explored abstracts much, so I thought this (exhibit) would be a great opportunity. And it has been.”
Benson’s philosophy on photography can be boiled down to one phrase: “Mainly,” he said, “simple is better.
“Until 10 years ago I would also have mentioned film philosophies like low contrast, rich colors, but with digital, it seems to go the other way — higher contrast, but also rich but not glaring colors. I really try to limit software processing, (which) is difficult because the toolsets available have become so strong and usable.”
Benson’s idea of “simple is better” is interwoven into “Colorful Abstracts” and appears in the form of simple backgrounds, foregrounds and “even nonexistent” ones, he said.
“I’ve (enjoyed finding) abstract patterns in non-abstract situations,” Benson said. His photographic findings incorporate scenes in baseball stadiums, architecture and plants, to name a few.
“I’m really honored to be at Steckline,” he said. “It’s a wonderful gallery.”
To learn more about Benson and his work, visit Gallery XII online.
The Steckline Gallery is located inside the De Mattias Fine Arts Center on the Newman campus, 3100 McCormick. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. or by appointment. For more information, call 316-942-4291, ext. 2199.