Letters

Letters 02-08-2016

Less Ageism, Please The January 4 issue of this publication proved to me that there are some sensible voices of reason in our community regarding all things “inter-generational.” I offer a word of thanks to Elizabeth Myers. I too have worked hard for what I’ve earned throughout my years in the various positions I’ve held. While I too cannot speak for each millennial, brash generalizations about a lack of work ethic don’t sit well with me...Joe Connolly, Traverse City

Now That’s an Escalation I just read the letter from Greg and his defense of the AR15. The letter started with great information but then out of nowhere his opinion went off the rails. “The government wants total gun control and then confiscation; then the elimination of all Constitutional rights.” Wait... what?! To quote the great Ron Burgundy, “Well, that escalated quickly!”

Healthy Eating and Exercise for Children Healthy foods and exercise are important for children of all ages. It is important for children because it empowers them to do their best at school and be able to do their homework and study...

Mascots and Harsh Native American Truths The letter from the Choctaw lady deserves an answer. I have had a gutful of the whining about the fate of the American Indian. The American Indians were the losers in an imperial expansion; as such, they have, overall, fared much better than a lot of such losers throughout history. Everything the lady complains about in the way of what was done by the nasty, evil Whites was being done by Indians to other Indians long before Europeans arrived...

Snyder Must Go I believe it’s time. It’s time for Governor Snyder to go. The FBI, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the EPA Criminal Investigation Division are now investigating the Flint water crisis that poisoned thousands of people. Governor Snyder signed the legislation that established the Emergency Manager law. Since its inception it has proven to be a dismal failure...

Erosion of Public Trust Let’s look at how we’ve been experiencing global warming. Between 1979 and 2013, increases in temperature and wind speeds along with more rain-free days have combined to stretch fire seasons worldwide by 20 percent. In the U.S., the fire seasons are 78 days longer than in the 1970s...

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ConTexTure

Erin Crowell - May 24th, 2010
ConTEXTure: Dennos offers a marriage of poetry & sculpture
By Erin Crowell
At first glance, the ConTEXTure sculptures currently on display at the Dennos Museum Center look like a mess, thrown together by a five-year-old with way too much glue and freedom. They are convoluted works of art, colorful pieces held together by strands of wire, paint and other (sometimes unidentifiable) household objects.
Chaos, you could say.
But look closer and you will understand the amount of thought and work that went into each piece; how the web of strands seem to suspend, hold and balance each work. Every sculpture is accompanied by a poem, words that hold that same intricacy and consideration.
Sculptor Bill Allen and poet Fleda Brown combined their arts to create ConTEXTure: A Conversation Between Artists in Two Forms. Now on display through June 13 at the Dennos Museum Center in Traverse City, the exhibit is a marriage – one medium giving voice to the other.

CHICKEN AND THE EGG
So which is created first, the sculpture or the poem? Well, to ask that question is like asking, “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” Does it really matter?
“Brown writes, not to explain the sculpture but to add the voice of the poet to its implications. Allen responds to a poem, envisioning what it says to him outside of language,” as explained by the exhibit description.
So although each medium is a response to the other, we never really know which medium came first – which serves as another way of provoking our thoughts.
It’s also difficult to pinpoint where exactly Allen started on each sculpture. Unlike the seams of clothing, there is no way to identify a section. There is only a chaotic four-dimensional web, with lines going up, down, through and across. How he managed to maintain a four-dimensional shape during the construction is mind-boggling.

TRUE TO FORM
These strands that act as the skeleton of Allen’s sculptures isn’t anything new.
“If you’re familiar with his early work, Bill Allen does life-like animal sculptures using the same strand technique,” says Gene Jenneman, executive director of the museum. “It’s interesting to see the evolution of his work, moving into the abstract.”
Jenneman visited Allen’s studio after several people approached him, encouraging him to see the collaboration between the two artists.
“The museum has several pieces by Bill Allen in our collection,” says curator Diana Bolander. “We also did a solo exhibition of Bill Allen’s work in 1992. It was a pleasure to work with him again and to meet Fleda Brown and work with her.”
Brown has also seen her art evolve, which is epitomized by the ConTEXTure exhibit.
“I used to feel much more sense of where I was going with my poetry, which I don’t do anymore,” Brown states in a short 20-minute film that plays on-loop during museum hours.
The film is a conversation between Allen and Brown, explaining the process of creating the exhibit, which includes one-on-one interviews, readings by Brown and images of Allen working on some of his sculptures.
“At first it was difficult,” Allen says about his sculptures. “I was trying to be descriptive, which I found out just wasn’t going to work, so I talked to Fleda more. She told me, ‘Think of the poem as a spark.’”

A MUSEUM FIRST
ConTEXTure is the first exhibit at the Dennos Museum Center which combines both visual art and written word.
“I would say that visitors can expect to be surprised and engaged by the connections that they (as viewers) will draw between the sculpture and poems,” says Bolander. “The average time a museum visitor spends looking at a work of art is 30 seconds. For this show, more than 30 seconds is required to look at the work, read the poem and consider the poem and sculptures together.”
The addition of poetry to sculpture makes for a whole different experience, adds Jenneman.

ConTEXTure: A Conversation Between Artists in Two Forms is open now through June 13 at the Dennos Museum Center, located on the main campus of Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City. Museum hours are Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; and Sunday, 1-5 p.m. Admission is $6 for adults and $4 for children. Visit them online at dennosmuseum.org.


 
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