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Sarah Unruh ’12

Remembering those who have gone the base for Wichita artist’s current work

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Collaboration with local residents is one special feature of Ann Resnick’s exhibit “Inconsolable,” now on display in Bethel College’s Fine Arts Center Gallery.

Another is the fact that Resnick will give a short program about her exhibit as part of the second Worship and the Arts Symposium, Nov. 16 at Bethel.

Rachel Epp Buller, Bethel assistant professor of art and FAC Gallery coordinator, chose Resnick for the Nov. 1-29 slot specifically because of the overlap with the symposium.

The symposium will be centered on exploring how cultural realities influence Christian practices of marking life transitions, and Epp Buller knew that Resnick’s recent art has explored “memories and rituals around the end of life.”

Resnick collaborated with residents of Kidron Bethel Village’s independent living, assisted living and health-care facilities to create one of the major pieces for “Inconsolable.”

She held paper-cutting workshops in North Newton in which the residents created paper flowers for a three-dimensional installation, similar to others Resnick has done.

“For You,” the first piece visitors see when entering the FAC Gallery, consists entirely of these paper flowers – made of circles cut from magazine pages and florist wire – attached directly to the wall. Opposite the piece are a list of names of everyone who contributed to its creation as well as photos from the workshops taken by Vada Snider.

Resnick says this in her artist statement: “Loss is inevitable…and taking note of our collective and individual loss is a human preoccupation.

“Creating elaborate extemporaneous memorials at the site of every untimely death and every natural disaster has come to feel like a genetic imperative. We may debate whether a pile of Teddy bears is a fitting tribute to the dead, but we’re not likely to argue about our predisposition to create these kind of memorials.

“The impulse to remember the passing of friends, relatives and those whose lives might otherwise go unremarked upon is the foundation of my current work.

“Working directly with newspaper obituaries or with burned paper and imagery derived from funereal subject matter, I make my own memorials to honor both the lives of strangers and the lives of the people I loved most.”

A native of upstate New York, Ann Resnick now lives and works in Wichita. She studied studio arts and printmaking at SUNY-Potsdam and earned a printmaking/painting certificate from Munson-Williams-Proctor School of Art in Utica before completing her BFA degree in printmaking at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. She also studied at the Visual Arts Center of Anchorage.

Resnick has exhibited throughout the United States, as well as in Japan, at venues including the Danville (Va.) Museum of Art and the Kansas City (Kan.) Jewish Museum of Contemporary Art. She has been the recipient of many grants and awards, including the Kansas Arts Commission Mid-Career Fellowship.

Besides being a full-time artist, Resnick has been an active advocate for art and artists in the region. As a co-founder of Project, a gallery begun in 1997 and active through 2006 in downtown Wichita, Resnick sought to create a conduit from artists active on the East and West coasts to the Midwest. She co-founded the River City Biennale in 2006 to challenge assumptions about art in Wichita and create a higher profile for local artists.

Resnick continues to devote time and energy to fostering opportunities for provocative art in her most recent endeavor, Culture Club, a curatorial collective.

“Inconsolable” is on display in the Fine Arts Center Gallery through Nov. 29. The public reception for the exhibit will be Nov. 21 from 6-8 p.m. outside the gallery.

Regular FAC Gallery hours are Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday, 2-4 p.m. during the school year (closed during holidays and school breaks). Special hours will be Saturday, Nov. 16, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Admission is free.

Bethel College is the only private, liberal arts college in Kansas listed in the 2013-14 Forbes.com analysis of top colleges and universities in the United States, and is the highest-ranked Kansas college in the Washington Monthly annual college guide for 2013-14. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see www.bethelks.edu.