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UNT art exhibit challenges stability and change

Artist Marion Belanger’s R stands for Rift (along the Mid Atlantic Rift in Iceland), on the eastern edge of the North American Continental Plate, and F for Fault, along the western edge (the San Andreas Fault in CA) is one of the pieces that will be shown in the Permanence/Impermanence exhibition in the UNT Art Gallery Sept. 10 to Oct. 17

Five nationally acclaimed artists display their work in UNT Art Gallery’s Permanence/Impermanence exhibition, on display Sept. 10 to Oct. 17.

The free exhibition includes a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. on Sept. 10. That evening will also include a gallery talk at 6 p.m. by two of the artists, Marion Belanger and Susan Goethel Campbell. Artists Anna Collette, Terry Evans and Aspen Mays will also exhibit their works.

  • What: Permanence/Impermanence, an exhibition that challenges the ideas of what is constant and what is mutable. The artworks remind viewers that when considering environmental change, what may appear to be temporary may in fact inadvertently become longstanding; and conversely, the ground underneath our feet, although seemingly steadfast, may be shifting. The exhibition features works by Marion Belanger, Anna Collette, Terry Evans, Susan Goethel Campbell and Aspen Mays
  • When: Sept. 10 to Oct. 17; Gallery hours are noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, and 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday.
  • Where: UNT Art Gallery on the first floor of UNT’s Art Building
  • Cost: Free
  • More information: There will be a reception from 5-7 p.m. and a gallery talk at 6 p.m. on Sept. 10. More information about the UNT Art Gallery and exhibitions, and other UNT art galleries, can be found at http://gallery.unt.edu.

Campbell, who will be in residence at UNT’s P.R.I.N.T Press in September, will exhibit a video documenting 365 days of the weather over Detroit from the 22nd floor of a downtown building and a floor installation that has about 50 units of inverted dry sod.

“I’ve lived most of my life in Detroit and, driving in the city, I have seen derelict buildings being reclaimed by nature,” said Campbell. “It signals economic decline, but, from a purely landscape viewpoint it shows the cyclical process of nature and culture. Things are never permanent. Even though we think we have made buildings to last, but, if neglected, they don’t.”

Belanger, whose photographs of the land-based edges of the North American Continental Plate including Belanger’s R stands for Rift and F for Fault, above, was also influenced by the landscape where she lived. As a child growing up in a Connecticut manufacturing valley, she saw both polluted areas near the factories with air so toxic it made her eyes sting and, beyond, landscape that was pristine and beautiful. At a young age, she understood that landscape use is a complex issue, and that many considerations such as economics and politics determine land management decisions.

“My work is concerned with how geologic and cultural landscapes intersect,” said Belanger. “Human interaction with the environment interests me. It is also an important dialogue to have with each other because of the state of our planet.”

Human interaction with the landscape is a familiar theme in the photographs of Evans, which are about the oil boom fracking in North Dakota and its effect on the land and people.

“Much of my life work in photography has been about exploring the prairies and plains – from a virgin prairie in Kansas to the human changed prairies from Canada to Texas,” Evans said. “One of my pieces in this exhibition shows an oil pipeline cutting straight across native prairies without regard for the prairie itself.”

Collette’s photographs call to mind an issue that North Texans recently faced – flooding. She made photographs in southern Travis County several months after a historic rainfall, which worsened the seasonal flooding and uprooted trees that were caught by a grove of live oaks.

“I first saw the creek, now dry and ashen, from the highway overpass,” Collette recalled. “With the monocular perspective of the camera, I saw a dizzying and almost revisionist view wherein the fallen seemed to stand. I photographed the accumulation of limbs and branches caught in the trees. Week after week, I returned and made singular portraits of the trees and debris, fixating on their hanging limbs and severed sticks.”

While in Chile on a Fulbright Fellowship, Mays stumbled upon some old photographic prints and negatives in a darkroom at the country’s national observatory. From these items, she created two bodies of work – Punched Out Stars, in which she used a hole punch to clip out the stars in old photos; and The Sun 1957, which are contact prints of negatives of the sun from a mid-century sunspot survey.  

“In Punched Out Stars, I was really thinking about impermanence and vulnerability,” Mays said. “The prints are sort of barely there – they have been so manipulated and altered that they are just barely hanging on as photographs. The negatives I found were from sun spot surveys, labeled by month and year. But, the months weren’t put in the right order – February had enough negatives to fill three pages but September only had enough negatives to fill one page, and I never found records for November. This record of the sun, which is the star that makes life possible, is full of gaps and holes. These are all familiar images but when you see them this way, they seem unfamiliar.”

The UNT Art Gallery is on the first floor of UNT’s Art Building. Metered parking is nearby and guests may also use one of the parking garages on UNT’s campus for a small fee. Gallery hours are noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, and 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday.

Margarita Venegas, News Promotions

Posted on: Tue 11 August 2015

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