The Art & Science Exhibition opens with a creative exploration of the human condition

Lauryn Bolz

man looks at a photo
Kevin Schroeder, a junior mechanical engineering major, looks at a photograph in the Art and Science Exhibition. (Julia Trowbridge | Collegian)

The connection between art and science was boldy presented at Tuesday’s Art & Science Exhibition reception. The biennial celebration’s opening banquet gave the artists and scientists an opportunity to appreciate each other’s work as well as honor the bond between the two disciplines.

The exhibition, which is co-hosted by the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Natural Sciences, features pieces that show the cross section of scientific research and artistic technique and style.

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“When you look at the exhibit, I think you’ll see both art and science in every piece that’s here,” said Janice Nerger, the dean of the College of Natural Sciences. “You can look at this blue structure that was developed on a 3D printer. You might think an artist did that by the beauty of the art and the form, or a mathematician could have done that by looking at the beauty and form of the algorithm that produced it.”

The art displayed at the exhibition not only displayed the bond between the subjects of art and science, but also the camaraderie between the students and faculty within the subjects.  

“As a Research I institution, some people don’t think that there is the emphasis and there isn’t necessarily the value placed on the arts that we certainly do,” Nerger said. “A Research I university doesn’t mean research of the sciences, but arts as well. Every time you think ‘research’ you should think ‘creativity.’ It’s all the same thing.”

Throughout the evening, students and faculty of the two departments mingled and conversed about the different innovations used in the art.

“‘Scientia’ in Latin just means something that you know, and art is the way you do things, it’s the ability to craft something in a fabulous way,” said Ben Withers, the dean of Liberal Arts. “That happens both with the scientist and with the artist. If you’re working with a lab procedure you have to follow things, you have to make sure you’re doing things right, and same with an art student.”

Every time you think ‘research’ you should think ‘creativity,’ it’s all the same thing.” Janice Nerger, Dean of Natural Sciences

Towards the end of the evening, awards were given out for exceptional pieces of art presented in the gallery. Nerger joined art and art history assistant professor David Riep and assistant professor at the University of Northern Colorado Rachel Dinnen in determining which artist best used their abilities to merge the two disciplines into a piece of visual art.

three people pose for a photo
Eisen Tamkun, a senior art major, Mark Dineen, a faculty member in the art and art history department, and Lauren Faherty, a graduate student in the department of art and art History, accept their awards at the Art and Science Exhibition. (Julia Trowbridge | Collegian)

Among this year’s winners were faculty member Mark Dineen and undergraduate student Eisen Tamkum, both of whom fused art and science together in the form of metalworking. Lauren Faherty, a graduate student studying sculpture, won the Award for Excellence from the College of Liberal Arts for her piece “ACGT,” which depicted a large-scale DNA strand made from rope.

“In my work, I’ve been really interested in the use of the line. It has a sense of fluidity and movement and can always be displayed differently and I think that’s reflective of the human experience and life,” Faherty said.

Her creation of large, looping ropes with coded colors for the different segments of DNA spoke to her shared interests in soft sculpture and the human body.

“I’ve been really interested in systems more than anything, of looking at individual functions that create a whole, like DNA or human cells and how they’re all unique but perform similar functions,” Faherty said.

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The wide array of work done by the artists and scientists, from photographs to small-scale 3D printed statues, will be open for public viewing at the Curfman Gallery until March 26.

“This is something that we’ve been doing for 10 years, and I just see such a strength in the bonding of the disciplines,” Nerger said, “I think it points more to the similarities than the differences for sure.”

Lauryn Bolz can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @LaurynBolz.