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Ann Resnick's 'Chapter & Verse' exhibition had me in tears

Walking into Ann Resnick’s exhibition the other day at the Ulrich Museum I found myself caught off guard. I found that much of the show revolved around Ms. Resnick’s sense of personal loss and remembrance. I have seen such subject matter represented in other exhibitions, but I wasn’t prepared for how her heart was completely and vulnerably exposed here, and the courage it took to show some of this work. It's by no means dour, but powerful and tender. I found it impossible not to remember the family and friends I’ve lost over the years, and the feelings I store in my heart for them. For an exhibition to totally transport me into this type of real reflection takes some doing and I found myself in tears.

Two large works involved singular words scanned from actual hand-written letters of love and sorrow. The words are magnified and repainted on paper: “Sorry” on one work and “Love, Dad,” “Miss You,” and “Love, Me” (among others) scrawled in each writer’s style on the other. Upon initial viewing these works appear stark and rather simple, on white or black paper, tacked to a wall. It’s then I remember seeing these same words, written in similar styles, in the letters I’d received after the crushing death of my father.

A work titled “Poor Souls” shows screen printed photos of ten individuals, possibly family members, in electric colors, all at once celebrating burning life and the pain of their loss.

In “Biography II” we see the artist’s family printed in the same electric ink in a series of small, round discs of wood. An obvious celebration of what once was—the mother and father now presumably in the ethereal.

And finally, a large arrangement of found plastic flowers on a wall, positioned to resemble one large bloom. The flowers are weather-beaten and faded, much like those we see scattered in cemeteries after a storm.

Emily Dickinson once said: “Unable are the Loved to die, for love is immortality.”

Ann Resnick, “Chapter & Verse,” at the Ulrich Museum through May 7th.

Curt Clonts is a Wichita-born artist who volunteers as KMUW's art reviewer. When Curt isn’t working in his College Hill studio he is usually spending time with his wife, kids, and grandkids. He also spends the spring and summer months kayaking and camping.