Robin Germany photograph shows foil floating in brown water as an iceberg. Robin Dru Germany, "Maxie Park Lake: Foil Wall", 2012, 40 x 33 inches.

Contemplating Limits

Aug 28, 2012 - Sep 22, 2012

Featuring sculptures by Austin Ballard, photographs by Robin Dru Germany, and paintings by Kirsten Macy and Gary Passanise

Curated by Tracee W. Robertson, Gallery Director


Opening Reception:

Thursday 8/30, 5-7 pm

Artist Gallery Talks:

8/30, 6 pm with Austin Ballard, Kirsten Macy and Gary Passanise

9/20, 10 am with Robin Germany


  • Large cardboard sculpture by Austin Ballard resembling collapsed scaffold.
  • Large cardboard sculpture by Austin Ballard resembling collapsed scaffold.
  • Oil painting by Gary Passanise with black, white and tan washes of paint.
  • Oil painting by Gary Passanise with chalky washes and vertical center lines
  • Acrylic painting by Kirsten Macy wtih white explosion in deep empty horizon
  • Art Piece or Exhibition Installation View
  • Contemplating Limits, UNT Art Gallery, Fall 2012, View Facing East


The works in this exhibition convey ideas about structure, where structure may be thought of as the cultural, physical, and political elements of human life that manifest as expectations, perceptions, and histories. The artists' personal, social, or philosophical viewpoints evoke questions about the truth of these elements and invite us to consider how we relate to the moody and otherworldly images before us. Through varied processes, each artist engages with ideas of structure as ethereal propositions that reveal inherent limitations in the ways we shape and frame human experience.


A recent graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, Austin Ballard's (North Carolina) small sculptural works in this exhibition employ everyday materials, such as cardboard, mirrored glass, and concrete, and appear as models for much larger scenes. Ballard's sites of turned over scaffolds or propped up walls seem to explore a kind of futility in structure, in its purpose or its expectation of longevity. Small-scale structures, such as the supports for a pier or a sports arena, lay collapsed and abandonded. Colorful pennants that convey carnival or festival appear crushed, tangled in debris and suggestive of tragedy or simiply of neglect and time passing.

Robin Dru Germany (Texas) makes photographic work that "is an inquiry into the nature of behing human." Germany's images seem to manipulate imagery from nature to refer to humanness, to the body's veins, skins, and entrails--and their dysfunction--or to the way the eye sees imperfectly or to human imagination and longing for processes and phenomenon that are not immediately available to us. In this series of photographs, Germany explores the personality of bodies of water and our relationship to them both physically in the cast-off objects we contribute, which float or wash to shore, and emotionally in our conception of oceans and rivers as myterious, dangerous.

Kirsten Macy (California and Texas) makes paintings and sculptures that impart a sense of life that has been vacated and is decaying, and like Ballard's sculptures, test the limits of human histories. What we create and eventually leave behind--architecture, stories, people--are reduced in her recent paintings to vast, blank horizons disrupted by misplaced objects, lines, and explosions. Macy's visual style draws on aesthetics of video games and digital animation, lending an otherworldy sense of the future.

Gary Passanise (Missouri) has been painting for more than 30 years and often makes works in large scale. His current abstract paintings question the very structure of painting, which for hundreds of years has been a rectangular, flat surface. Artists before Passanise have struggled with this limitation, changing the shape of canvases or repeating the flat edge of the cnvas across its surface, among other explorations. Passanise uses the cavnas structure--its rectangular shape--as the subject in his abstract works, overlapping rectangles to build new, fictional forms that take on a life of their own in our imaginations. This effect suggests a power to communicate despite the limits or traditions of form.


This exhibition is made possible by the UNT Fine Arts Series, Goodmor Construction, Inc., and Karen SG Milnes Design, with additional support from the UNT College of Visual Arts and Design.