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Pulped Under Pressure

At the Brunnier Art Museum
Tuesday, August 22 - Sunday, December 17, 2023

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 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.

Learn More

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Artist short biographies

Read Bios

Paper with a Purpose, Catalog Essay by Ashley Kistler

Read Essay


Exhibition Programs

Find full descriptions of programs on the University Museums Calendar. All programs are free and open to the public. Registration is encouraged but not required. Click the event title for more information and/or to register. Events listed below will be at the Brunnier Art Museum (1805 Center Dr., 295 Scheman Building, Ames, Iowa) unless otherwise noted. Programs are subject to change. Check the University Museums Calendar and Facebook page for the latest events information.


Pulped Under Pressure Artist Conversation

September 6, 2023, 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Virtual on Zoom (link)

Hear from four artists – Jillian Bruschera, Reni Gower, Melissa Potter, and Marilyn Propp – whose art is presented in the Brunnier Art Museum exhibition Pulped Under Pressure. They will discuss their unique perspectives of working with papermaking in their art practices.


Papermaking: Studying the Depth of Nature
with Nicholas Cladis

October 29, 2023, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Nicholas Cladis, Lecturer at the Center for the Book at the University of Iowa, will discuss the 2,000 year old art of hand papermaking. Throughout those 2,000 years, hands have guided the craft, minds have molded the product, and nature has provided the resources. 

This talk will discuss perspectives of papermakers and artists using paper, and touch upon how contemporary practitioners are adapting to material and conceptual shifts


Curator's Tour of Pulped Under Pressure
with Adrienne Gennett

November 12, 2023, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Join Brunnier Art Museum curator Adrienne Gennett as she tours the exhibition Pulped Under Pressure. Learn about papermaking in art and its importance as a sustainable material.

Visit the Brunnier Art Museum

Tuesday–Friday, 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday, 1:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.
Closed to the public Mondays. ISU curriculum tours may be scheduled on these days with a 2-week notice.

Closed University Holidays

Address: Scheman Building (2nd Floor), 1805 Center Drive, Ames, Iowa
Admission: The cost is free; however, there is a suggested donation of $8.

This exhibition is organized by Wylie Contemporary Inc. and co-curated by Reni Gower and Melissa H. Potter. All art on exhibit is lent by the artists. The exhibition is hosted by University Museums with generous support from Marcia and Jim Borel, Larry and Sue Koehrsen, Rae Reilly, Marilyn and Dwight Conover, Debbie Gitchell, Mrs. Sandra R. May, Anne Clubine, and University Museums Membership. Programs are made possible through support from the Kathy & John Howell Art Enrichment Program.

Images from top:

Psyche-Anthropocene Projection, 2013
Maggie Puckett
Handmade paper, inclusions, PVA
Courtesy of the artist

Spray 9, 2014
Reni Gowers
Handmade paper with sprayed pulp
Courtesy of the artist

Textures of the Phillipines, 2015
Trisha Oralie Martin
Block prints, handmade paper
Courtesy of the artist

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