orn March 17, 1956, in Merced, California, Lee Udall Bennion moved to Utah in 1974 to study art at Brigham Young University. In 1976, she married ceramist Joseph Bennion and moved to the rural setting of Spring City, Sanpete County, Utah. She has three daughters and is active in the family-oriented life of Spring City. Energetically involved in both church and community activities, Lee's obvious commitment to family is reflected in the subject matter of many of her paintings.

In 1983, she returned to Brigham Young University to continue her education. There she earned a BFA in painting. She has received numerous honors and awards from the art community. She is a frequent participant in presentations and workshops for artists and educators and has been the featured subject of several articles in national art publications, including Southwest Art. Currently she is serving on the board of directors for the Utah Arts Council, representing visual artsits of the state. Her work is sold through David Ericson Fine Art in Salt Lake City, UT and is owned by art museums and by many private collectors.

Lee enjoys an active outdoor life in the wilderness areas near her home in central Utah and that of the southwest. This involves many hours hiking, or in the saddle on her horses in the mountains east of her home, as well as backpacking and river running the desert canyons found in southern Utah and Arizona. The feelings generated by these places she visits and loves are communicated in her paintings by the rich, intense colors of her landscapes even more than by the pictorial elements. Her husband Joe believes the objects Lee sees with her eyes are "transferred as visual information through the conduit of her soul." Lee Bennion's distinctive style, with its pensive, elongated figures, is not so much portraiture as her own special harmony between subject, emotional atmosphere, and viewer. She says of her own work,

    "Although I primarily paint the figure, portraiture is not my main concern. My painting deals with form, color, and feelings foremost. Often a likeness of my model is also found in my paintings, and I enjoy this when it happens. My figures are often slightly distorted, never quite perfect, but hopefully still reflect the warmth and goodness that I feel exists within them. I am most pleased when these feelings reach the viewer, and some kind of dialogue occurs that goes beyond the recognition of the subject. My landscape and still life paintings tell more how I feel about a place or a set of objects that what they actually look like. I take great liberty with colors and form, painting often from memory or with out a lot of direct reference to my subject. I am defiantly not a plein-air painter!"

Bennion says she thinks the only real change in her work over the years has been her increased ability to get the paint to do what she wants it to. That change is certainly evident in her recent work "abundant details, more complex symbolism, a natural elegance, and a greater delicacy and richness" but so is her maturation as a woman. Although her beliefs and concerns have changed little over the span of those years, the increasing depth a well-lived life endows is also part of the increasing richness of her paintings. They truly portray who Lee Udall Bennion is in the most intimate and basic sense.



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