PRESS RELEASE: A Traveling Exhibition, Pulped Under Pressure/The Art of Handmade Paper coming to The Monmouth Museum


March 1, 2017

732-224-1994 M 908-601-1701

A Traveling Exhibition, Pulped Under Pressure/The Art of Handmade Paper coming to The Monmouth Museum

Lincroft – Pulped Under Pressure, co-curated by Reni Gower and Melissa Potter, is a traveling exhibition that will be on display in the Main Gallery of the Monmouth Museum from March 19th – May 7th 2017. The opening reception, will be held March 19th from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm, and is Free and Open to the Public.

On Saturday, March 25, 2017 the Monmouth Museum and The Jill Molinaro Dance Company, sponsored by the Brookdale Community College Dance Club are proud to present a modern dance workshop, art gallery reception, performance, and panel discussion featuring guest artist Jill Molinaro and dancers.
This arts collaboration was the brainchild of dancer and choreographer Jill Molinaro and inspired by the traveling exhibition Pulped Under Pressure, specifically the artwork of Reni Gower. This collaboration begins with a free Master dance class on March 25, 2017 from 10:00-11:30 at the Black Box Theatre located at the Brookdale Community College PAC. Thirty spots available for class, Pre-registration online at At 11:30 participating dancers have free admission to view the artwork in the Monmouth Museum Main Gallery.
At 6 pm the Monmouth Museum will be hosting a coffee and cookie reception along with free admission to view the Pulped Under Pressure exhibition. Immediately following, at 7:00 pm at the Brookdale Community College Black Box Theater is a free performance from the Brookdale Community College Dance Club and The Jill Molinaro Dance Company. A panel discussion will follow the performance regarding how the artwork inspired the dances.
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 recognition of some of the most pressing issues (environmental crisis to global marginalization) facing civilization today.

Co-curated by Reni Gower and Melissa Potter, Pulped Under Pressure features seven artists from California, Illinois and Virginia. 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 illuminated el 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.

The artists of this exhibition begin with wet pulp that is stirred, formed, drained, and then pressed to remove the excess water from the fibers before drying the finished product. While the word “pressure” in the exhibition’s title recalls this penultimate step, more importantly it alludes to the ways in which these artists adopt hand papermaking to convey pressing concerns beyond functional considerations, often using the medium as an activist tool for social engagement. In their art, process itself has inherent value.

Of the many configurations Jillian Bruschera’s handmade paper bricks entitled Wastemade can take, one version resembling a crumbling, unstable wall, may be suggestive of her ongoing efforts to dismantle barriers of all sorts. A California native, Bruschera is an interdisciplinary artist who recycles discarded materials. By combining bits of broken technology (tv remotes, cassette tape, and cds) with waste paper and trash cardboard, the artist questions built-in obsolescence, over consumption, and identity.

Based in Oakland, CA, independent artist, Julia Goodman makes cast paper works from discarded bedsheets with papyrus pulped from beets obtained from local organic farmers. Loosely based on the history of rag paper, Goodman devised a project that addresses the historical theme of scarcity, characteristic of an earlier era when rags were a rare, and thus prized commodity for paper production. Her biographical and biological approach produces works that are both fragile and strong.

Professor in the Painting and Printmaking Department at Virginia Commonwealth University, Reni Gower incorporates sacred geometry, based on the interlocking designs of Celtic knots and those appearing on Islamic tiles, in her spray pulped paintings and papercuts to reveal universal cross-cultural connections. Over time and space, complex, repetitive geometric patterns have long offered a meditative pathway to understanding universal truths and, as an antidote to our busy outer lives, Gower intends to inspire a similarly contemplative state of mind.

Inspired by her heritage, Chicago artist Trisha Oralie Martin includes native Fillipino tattoo designs and textile motifs in her highly patterned works. By archiving a practice that reflects a native people’s symbiotic relationship to the environment, the artist invites her audience to look, learn, and communicate despite differences. Her focus on participatory projects shares an ethos encapsulated by the Fillipino term, kapwa, often translated as “togetherness” or “fellow being.”

Influenced by crafters, feminists, and Quaker activists, Columbia College Chicago Associate Professor, Melissa Potter considers the radical history of women through traditional handicrafts, gender rituals, and untold personal histories. Her series of work Food, Sex & Death stems from her research on the history of the immigrant women who as prostitutes and low-wage workers, worked in the location of The Papermaker’s Garden, once the center of Chicago’s vice district at the turn of the 20th Century until the mid-80s.

Chicago artist and co-founder of Anchor Graphics, Marilyn Propp examines the coexistence and clash between the industrial and the natural worlds. By combining luminous color with the materiality of handmade paper and graphic images, the artist entangles marine life with industrial debris in provocative reflections on destruction.

Based in Chicago, interdisciplinary artist Maggie Puckett uses the seductive tactility of handmade paper in concert with rich organic color to foretell the dire effects of climate change. By working collaboratively, her work triggers environmental awareness that imbues socially engaged local actions with the power to impact the global.

“Our Exhibition Committee selected Pulped because of its commitment to showcasing different mediums, like papermaking, and the artists’ use of recycled materials, which we continually encourage in our Green Arts Studio. The seven contemporary artists included in this exhibition bring a high level of talent and creativity to the subjects they present. We are excited about sharing this work with our members and many visitors this spring,” said Avis H. Anderson, the Executive Director of the Monmouth Museum.

Funding for Pulped Under Pressure was made possible in part by Virginia Commonwealth University, VCUarts, and the Painting and Printmaking Department.

Admission to the Museum and exhibition is $8, Members are Free.The Museum is located on 765 Newman Springs Road, Lincroft, NJ, Parking Lot #1 on the campus of Brookdale Community College. The exhibition will run through May 7th, 2017.

The Monmouth Museum, a private, non-profit organization was founded in 1963 as a Museum of Ideas, presents changing art, history and science exhibitions to educate and entertain while providing a destination for creative expression and life-long learning to the diverse community it serves.

For more information about the Monmouth Museum exhibits and programs their website is or call 732-747-2266. You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.




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