Bravery and Resiliency: Dennos Exhibitions Explore Hope, Hunger, and Experimental Paper Art

The Dennos Museum Center at Northwestern Michigan College is pleased to present three new exhibitions scheduled to open on January 19, 2020. Each exhibition explores some aspect of bravery and resiliency: from Howard G. Buffet’s photographs that document world hunger in 40 Chances, to artist Karen Bondarchuk’s struggle to make sense of Alzheimer’s disease in Ergo Sum: A Crow a Day, artists translate and decipher the world around us in ways that are relatable and meaningful. And in Pulped Under Pressure: The Art of Handmade Paper, seven contemporary artists experiment with one of society’s most ubiquitous of materials—paper— to “address some of the most pressing issues (environmental crisis to global marginalization) facing civilization today.”

A variety of public programs will occur throughout the winter months to connect audiences of all ages with these exhibitions. More information can be found online at

Exhibitions at the Dennos Museum Center are made possible with support provided by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Robert T. and Ruth Haidt Hughes Memorial Endowment Fund, with media support from TV 7&4 and TV 9&10.

40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World

January 19 – April 26, 2020

In this powerful exhibit featuring the photography of Howard G. Buffett, 40 photographs document the world hunger crisis as part of a global awareness campaign. Traveling to more than 137 countries, Buffett turned his camera lens on the powerful forces that fuel hunger and poverty. A philanthropist and farmer, Buffett believes that each of us has about 40 chances to accomplish our life goals, just as farmers have about 40 growing seasons to improve their harvests. His photography is a call to action to find lasting solutions to the world hunger crisis.

40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World was developed by the Newseum in collaboration with Howard G. Buffett Foundation. The Newseum, located in Washington, D.C., increases public understanding of the importance of free press and the First Amendment.

Ergo Sum: A Crow a Day

January 19 – May 24, 2020

On August 1, 2014 Canadian-born artist Karen Bondarchuk set out to mark the passing time that her mother – diagnosed with dementia in 2010 – no longer could. For 365 days, she produced a crow a day on a hand-cut, hand-gessoed panel, remembering her mother as she once was and grieving her loss. The resulting work explores communication and an artist’s relationship to the world; it resonates for its depth, beauty, and elegiac and potent whimsy.

In the artist’s own words: “I began this series on August 1, 2014, as a way to honor my mother who is in the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease. I chose to create a crow drawing every day for 365 days as a way of marking time that she no longer seems to recognize. Crows have figured largely in my work for several years and represent both the quotidian and the extraordinary – akin to the Buddhist notion of “ordinary magic.” The labor that went into producing each of the 365 panels – cutting the wood, preparing my own gesso from gelatin and powdered limestone, building up layers, and sanding between coats in preparation for the actual process of creating an image – seemed to evoke the overwhelming labor and repetitious activities of motherhood. The series is simultaneously a marker of my mother’s lost time and a constant and acute reminder of my own days, my life, and an attempt to signal visually the preciousness and individuality of each day. Although the project seemed sober to me at its outset, quirky cheer and serendipity came to inhabit many of the panels.”

Ergo Sum: A Crow a Day is organized by the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, Wausau, Wisconsin

Pulped Under Pressure: The Art of Handmade Paper

January 19 –  May 24, 2020

With traditional hand papermaking at its core, Pulped Under Pressure underscores important contemporary issues steeped in history and craft. Enticed through touch, these works encourage a contemplative slowing down even as they urge acknowledgement of some of the most pressing issues (environmental crisis to global marginalization) facing civilization today.

Each of the artists, Jillian Bruschera, Julia Goodman, Reni Gower, Trisha Oralie Martin, Melissa Potter, Marilyn Propp, Maggie Puckett, starts simply with a foundation of pulp made from natural fibers. Their multifaceted results incorporate a rich range of printmaking, letterpress, papercutting, and installation with a diversity of recycled disposable materials (junk mail, egg cartons, old cotton t-shirts, ripped denim jeans) as well as old bedsheets, beetroot, heirloom plants, and electroluminescent wires.

In very unique ways, these artists consider paper beyond its most common function as a passive surface of record or craft. Instead, the material is transformed and imbedded with content that turns communication into a public practice. By challenging assumptions, the artists of Pulped Under Pressure create artworks that are both beautiful and brave.

Pulped Under Pressure: The Art of Handmade Paper is co-curated by Reni Gower and Melissa Hilliard Potter and organized by Wylie Contemporary, Inc.

The Dennos Museum Center at Northwestern Michigan College is open daily 10 AM to 5 PM, and Sundays 1-5 PM. For information on the Museum and its programs, visit or call 231-995-1055. The Dennos Museum Center is located at 1410 College Dr., Traverse City, MI 49686, at the entrance to the campus of Northwestern Michigan College.