2014 STEAM Exhibit: Putting Art in Science

Photo (c) Katrina Poggio

Photo (c) Katrina Poggio
Alex Ruiz (left) and Anne Hennessy (right) with their piece “Symbols of Beauty”

People often view art and science as polar opposites, but fine arts students at UCF may be changing that perspective with their newest exhibition. The 2014 STEAM Exhibition will showcase students’ artwork they have created in response to presentations given by UCF scientists and students in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. The exhibition presents visual evidence that “A” should be added to STEM to create STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics.

The UCF STEAM Exhibition is sponsored by the UCF ICubed Project, a National Science Foundation-funded project whose mission is to encourage stimulation in STEM research and education at UCF.

Among the many artworks that will be showcased in the exhibition, some must-sees created by UCF senior painting students are: “Elevation,” “Victor and Radamés,” “To Kitty” and “Symbols of Beauty.”

Jordan Guzman created a mixed-media piece for the STEAM Exhibition titled, “To Kitty.” Her work was inspired by waste management research presentations by Debra Reinhart, UCF Pegasus Professor and civil engineer.

Guzman said that in Reinhart’s presentation, she learned about the process of wood pulp paper recycling. In the process, wood fibers are degraded after four to six times of recycling. Because each cycle weakens the wood fibers, they eventually become too short to be useful in making paper.

Guzman said “To Kitty” is about the personal connection she has developed with paper since she began journaling in 2008. The title comes from the film, “The Diary of Anne Frank,” where she names her diary Kitty, and Guzman has also named her diary Kitty.

“To see myself on paper is really such a relief,” Guzman said in reference to journaling.

Guzman said that just like the degrading wood fibers, similarly troubling thoughts and powerful words lose their significance and power after one of her writing sessions. Guzman wrote a poem, also titled “To Kitty,” about her connection with paper. Each visual element in her poem correlates to her painting, which also incorporates actual journal entries onto the surface of her artwork.

Anne Hennessy and Alex Ruiz were also inspired by Reinhart’s presentations on waste management, but it was the idea of the mathematical concept of beauty that inspired them to collaborate and create their artwork “Symbols of Beauty.” After recovering a wood panel from a dumpster, Hennessy and Ruiz began asking themselves, “What is beauty?” The two students set out to create an artwork that has the potential to show viewers that although this wood panel was once considered “rubbish,” it has now been recycled into an artistic idea of beauty.

In their artist statement, they said that the golden ratio is believed “to mathematically exemplify perfect natural balance and beauty.” The golden ratio is seen in nature, such as sunflowers, which influenced them in their creation. On their artist statement, they also said that their point of view was influenced by the scientific concept of beauty as well as the beauty that goes outside of the formula.

Lujan Perez and MJ Torrecampo created a 42-by-45 acrylic painting tribute to the custodians who maintain their studio. Torrecampo said that while responding to Reinhart’s waste management presentation, she began thinking about the lower levels of STEM-related jobs.

Torrecampo said that she has had a silent relationship with the custodians over the years and recently started talking to them. In their artist statement, they stated, “This painting is hopefully a reminder that without Victor, Radamés and the thousands of other people on the base of the waste management pyramids, the field of environmental engineering will have a bigger issue than leachate control.”

Perez said that Torrecampo originally began the painting herself, but being that the two have wanted to do a collaboration painting for years, they saw this project as the perfect opportunity to do so.

“We play off each other’s strengths,” Torrecampo said.

Shanna Stiles created a 60-by-60 acrylic painting on canvas in response to professor of math and physics Costas Efthimiou’s presentation on near-death experiences. In her artist statement, Stiles said that her painting depicts the intersection of scientific, psychological and spiritual aspects of near-death experiences.

“I tried to use the four elements of Earth: water, air and fire to symbolically represent the brain states we go through,” Stiles stated. She added that this concept depicts a physiological state of mind and abstracted reality.

The STEAM Exhibition will be viewable until April 4 and entry is free.

To see the original article from Central Florida Future, click here.

Comments are closed.