Letters

Letters 10-20-2014

Doctor Dan? After several email conversations with Rep. Benishek, he has confirmed that he doesn’t have a clue of what he does. Here’s why...

In Favor Of Our Parks [Traverse] City Proposal 1 is a creative way to improve our city parks without using our tax dollars. By using a small portion of our oil and gas royalties from the Brown Bridge Trust Fund, our parks can be improved for our children and grandchildren.

From January 1970 Popular Mechanics: “Drastic climate changes will occur within the next 50 years if the use of fossil fuels keeps rising at current rates.” That warning comes from Eugene K. Peterson of the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management.

Newcomers Might Leave: Recently we had guests from India who came over as students with the plan to stay in America. He has a master’s degree in engineering and she is doing her residency in Chicago and plans to specialize in oncology. They talked very candidly about American politics and said that after observing...

Someone Is You: On Sept 21, I joined the 400,000 who took to the streets of New York in the People’s Climate March, followed by a UN Climate Summit and many speeches. On October 13, the Pentagon issued a report calling climate change a significant threat to national security requiring immediate action. How do we move from marches, speeches and reports to meaningful work on this problem? In NYC I read a sign with a simple answer...

Necessary To Pay: Last fall, Grand Traverse voters authorized a new tax to fix roads. It is good, it is necessary.

The Real Reasons for Wolf Hunt: I have really been surprised that no one has been commenting on the true reason for the wolf hunt. All this effort has not been expended so 23 wolves can be killed each year. Instead this manufactured controversy about the wolf hunt has been very carefully crafted to get Proposal 14-2 passed.

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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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