A new exhibit by artist Ann Resnick titled "Local and State" is on view now at The Steckline Gallery at Newman University, and features what I believe is her strongest work to date.
This body of work is comprised of works on paper, newsprint to be exact, that has been dramatically colored with Prisma color pencils and spray enamel and then, literally set on fire in some kind of controlled burn. What is left resembles a kind of paper lace that is beautiful, fragile, and ethereal.
Only upon close inspection does one learn that the newsprint Ms. Resnick has used is obituary pages from newspapers.
This realization set me on a journey of close inspection and deeper thought.
Ms. Resnick has effectively defined the full course of life in these works.
Newsprint is non-archival, and like the human body it begins to break down the second it's made.
And the COLOR in these works!
There are blood reds, sentimental blues--which on the burned-paper almost resembles veins--and soulful pinks and greens, with burning-soul oranges and yellows. We experience life, burning like a roman candle, in these colors. And, as in life, these colorful bodies burst into flame. Death is reflected in traces of ash, the faded ink of the obituary, and the decaying newsprint, all expertly handled by Ms. Resnick.
In one wall-sized installation piece, we see 288 individual, burned obits, pinned to hang 1/2" off the white wall, the gallery lights shining through the burned lace-work leaving soulful, ghost-like shadows under the work.
This work shows great beauty, intelligence, wonderful dignity, and heavy conceptual weight.
There is life in what remains, and death in what does not--or is it the other way around?
Ann Resnick's "Local and State," at the Steckline Gallery, through April 22nd.