Traverse City Record-Eagle

March 18, 2013

Two with bamboo: Snoddy, Cressman at Dennos

By CYMBRE FOSTER Special to the Record-Eagle
Special to the Record-Eagle

— TRAVERSE CITY — The two latest exhibits at the Dennos Museum Center appear to be very different at first glance, yet they also relate in several ways.

Both artists, Rufus Snoddy and Larry Cressman, not only use natural materials in their work, but were on museum director’s Gene Jenneman’s list of artists he admired and wanted to eventually see in the museum.

“When we booked ‘Modern Twist: Contemporary Japanese Bamboo Art,’ both of these artists fit with my desire to find a related connection to the bamboo material as medium,” said Jenneman, referring to another current exhibit.

Snoddy’s and Cressman’s exhibits each could stand on their own, but Jenneman believes viewers will enjoy experiencing them together.

Cressman’s exhibit, “Line Work,” uses natural vegetative materials to draw on gallery walls and in 3-D space, Jenneman said.

“His work carries with it the discipline found in the bamboo art, but uses the natural material in a very different way to produce his works of art,” he said.

His “installation drawings” incorporate cane, twigs, paper, graphite, wire and other materials. Much of it floats off the gallery wall or as 3-D constructions that hang from the ceiling and float within the gallery space.

Cressman said he began to experiment by constructing drawings as collections of lines gathered into transparent envelopes.

“I wove lines through holes punctured in paper. Finally, I began to pin lines in gestural compositions directly on gallery walls, creating large line “drawings” that responded to architectural space in which they were placed,” said Cressman, a nationally recognized artist who is a professor at the School of Art & Design and Residential Collage of the University of Michigan.

Snoddy’s exhibit, The Wings of Icarus, will showcase the Traverse City-based artist’s new, previously unseen works.

“Rufus Snoddy also uses natural materials, but unlike the bamboo, or Cressman for the most part, embellishes the tree branches that are the primary structure of his Wings of Icarus, with other media from paint, canvas, paper and objects,” Jenneman said.

Snoddy said his exhibit is inspired by the mythological story of Icarus, who flew to close to the sun.

“I utilize traditional media and material from my immediate environment to create visual metaphors. So too did Daedalus use the feathers, wood, wax and string found in the Labyrinth to make the wings he and his son Icarus used to escape the Prison of Minos,” he said.

His materials include wooden limbs from northern Michigan woods, canvas, vinyl, plastics, paper, metal, acrylic and other found objects.

The exhibit that opened March 10 will be on display until June 2.

The Dennos is open Monday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday until 8 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission is $6 for adults, $4 for children and free to museum members. For more information go to or call 995-1055.