observance Artist Reception

  • October 02, 2015
  • 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
  • McLean County Arts Center 601 N East St Bloomington IL 61701


Bethany Carlson, Dawn Gettler, Ann Coddington Rast

The McLean County Arts Center presents the art exhibition observance in the Armstrong Gallery from September 18 to October 31, 2015. A free and public Artist Reception will be on Friday, October 2 from 5 to 7 pm during Downtown Bloomington’s First Friday.

The exhibition observance presents artwork that honors loss and reflects on the balance of life. The voids created in any loss can be consuming- a death of a loved one, a personal failure, a physical change. Artists Bethany Carlson, Dawn Gettler, and Ann Coddington Rast utilize common materials like flowers, paper, and thread to talk about the absences that haunt. By creating artwork through a process of repetition, the ritual in making allows for a meditation and healing to be instilled in the work.

Bethany Carlson creates drawings and sculptural work about “the ceremonial and psychological aspects of grief.” Carlson’s piece titled Beloved is a towering pile of dried flowers on top of a distressed wooden cabinet. The care and precision of making the sculpture, drying each flower and arranging them into an armature, demonstrates the devotion to a loved one. Carlson’s charcoal drawing on a circular panel titled Still hangs across the room. A dark and rich spiral of furry texture, Still offers a too quiet but comforting spot of solace.

 Dawn Gettler is an interdisciplinary artist exploring the abstract concepts of longing and desire. Her installation the smallest deaths are the saddest includes a stop motion video and a doll house sized model of an attic space. The video, created from a 1,000 still images, depicts a small table with a neat stack of hundreds of papers. The papers float up into the air and scatter across a bare attic floor to magically defy gravity and stack back up again on the table. The model of the attic space depicts the scene of the paper stack halfway depleted and littering the doll sized space. The emotional cycle of having something completely fall apart in order to be brought back together again is a familiar feeling with life changing events. A chair in front of the model and projection invite intimate participation of the watchful ceremony.

Ann Coddington Rast is a fiber artist who creates installations and sculptural objects about corporeal sensory experiences. Her piece vestiges include more than twenty waxed thread, twined organic forms hanging from the wall. The forms, about the size and shape of a doll or internal organ, have a few appendage-like nubs and tufts of hair. The care and precision of how the vestiges were created through weaving tells a timeless story of adoration and mystery.


Bethany Carlson is an artist and educator in Peoria. She earned her BFA at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville and her MFA at New Mexico State University, Las Cruces. Dawn Gettler is an artist, Program Manager, and Gallery Coordinator at the Prairie Center of the Arts in Peoria. She earned her BFA from the University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, and her MFA from Ohio University, Athens. Ann Coddington Rast is an artist in Champaign and Associate Professor at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston. She earned her BFA from Colorado State University in Fort Collins and her MFA from University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.

This exhibition was generously sponsored in honor of Hilda Machin.

McLean County Arts Center is located at 601 N. East Street in downtown Bloomington.  MCAC hours are Tues., 10am – 7pm; Wed. – Fri., 10am – 5pm, and Sat., Noon – 4pm.  For more information, please call 309/829-0011.  McLean County Arts Center is supported in part by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

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