Art meets science at the Curfman Gallery

Ashley Potts

The Curfman Gallery in the Lory Student Center has opened its doors again. This time the work inside may not necessarily be what is expected of an art gallery.

The 10th annual Art and Science Exhibition debuted on Feb. 21. This exhibition is put on by the College of Natural Sciences and the Department of Art and Art History within the College of Liberal Arts in an effort to co-mingle their seemingly very separate disciplines. They took to heart the words of Leonardo da Vinci, who said, “study the science of art and the art of science.”


A student looks at a work depicting the “Thirteenth Zodiac” at the Art and Science Exhibition in the Curfman Gallery. (Ashley Potts | Collegian)

“I absolutely love botanical illustrations and that naturalistic style that also serves as a sort of diagram,” said art major, Kenna Aukamp, whose piece is featured in the show. “I have a bunch of friends who are science majors and I picked their brains about a way that I could integrate harder sciences in with a more biological subject. They gave me a bunch of ideas relating to fractals and the Fibonacci sequence, so that’s how I ended up with my idea of a Nautilus. I wanted to get that idea of the spiral and the Fibonacci ratio that shows up everywhere in the natural world and tie it into the kind of animal forms that I like to paint.”

A guest examines a photography-based work in the Art and Science Exhibition in the Curfman Gallery. (Ashley Potts | Collegian)

The university-wide exhibition features works in all media forms. More traditional paintings, drawings and photographs are featured as well as microscopic photography, videography and even grown crystals on an ordinary spoon. Subject matter ranges from actual images of microscopic cells to sewn in bacterial cultures, from telescopic photographs of the galaxy to a painted exploration of the zodiac star signs. All of this to show that art can be found anywhere and that anything can function as creative inspiration.

“I’ve always loved science, it’s so fascinating and beautiful,” Aukamp said. “I watch ‘Planet Earth’ and documentaries like that all the time. It’s very inspiring to me. It blows my mind how many beautiful, incredible things happen in our natural world and how complex organisms can be.”

Art and science are typically seen as very separate. They have even been described as being controlled by two separate parts of the brain. This exhibition encourages the blurring of the hard line between the two and collaboration between areas.

Aukamp said she think she will continue to pull inspiration from science even though she painted her piece “Nautilus” specifically for this exhibition.

“This exhibition acknowledges and celebrates the wide range of creative output found in the juxtaposition of art and science,” said the College of Natural Sciences in the call for entry, and that theme is very persistent through all of the works in the gallery.

The works will be on display now through March 24. The gallery is open Monday through Saturday from noon until 7 p.m. Stop by for more information or follow @csulscarts on Instagram and Twitter or visit their website at