Galleries of Contemporary Art
Hypothesis: Process in Science and Art

Hypothesis: Process in Science and Art

August 19–October 21, 2010

Kim Abeles, Chris Coleman, Erin Elder, and Scott Johnson


Events are free, but space is limited—register to secure your spot.

UCCS Anthropology, Chemistry, and Geography faculty are partnering with artists who have responded to the faculty's research and data in sculptural and video installations. Process is examined through both the faculty's research and the artist's finished work, bringing about greater understanding of the inherent connections between the scientific and creative processes.

Curated by Daisy McConnell, co-director of GOCA, the opening of Hypothesis coincides with the Grand Reopening of the Science Building (newly renamed "Centennial Hall") at UCCS. The Gallery of Contemporary Art at UCCS is located in the newly renovated Centennial Hall. Highlighting the interconnectedness of the arts and the sciences is the basis for this experimental exhibit.


A series of lectures accompany the exhibit HYPOTHESIS: Process in Science and Art. Each lecture will feature a faculty member and artist partnered in the exhibit speaking individually about their work, then coming together to discuss the interconnections between their respective processes.

Scott Johnson & Curt Holder

Erin Elder & Minette Church

Chris Coleman & Brandon Vogt

Kim Abeles & Janel Owens


Kim Abeles is an artist who crosses disciplines and media to explore and map the urban environment and chronicle broad social issues. The Smog Collector series brought her work to national and international attention in the art world, and mainstream sources such as Newsweek, National Public Radio, CBS Evening News, and The Wall Street Journal. A mid-career survey curated by Karen Moss and sponsored by the Fellows of Contemporary Art for the Santa Monica Museum, Kim Abeles: Encyclopedia Persona A-Z, toured the United States and South America, and was awarded the Best Regional Museum Show category for 1993-94 by the International Association of Art Critics. She continues to exhibit internationally, including recent projects in Vietnam, Thailand, Czech Republic, England, and China. She represented the U.S. in both the Fotografie Biennale Rotterdam and the Cultural Centre of Berchem in Antwerp. Her work is in numerous private and public collections including the Museum of Contemporary Art; United States Information Agency; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Yucun Art Museum, Suzhou, China; Sandwell Community History and Archives, U.K.; and is archived in the library collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Cooper-Hewitt Publication Design Collection of the Smithsonian. Abeles work was awarded grants from the Andy Warhol Foundation and Peter Norton Foundation and fellowships from J. Paul Getty Trust Fund for the Visual Arts, Pollack-Krasner Foundation, and the California Arts Council.

Chris Coleman received his BFA in his native state from West Virginia University in 2001 and his MFA from New York State University at Buffalo in 2003. A number of his undergraduate years were devoted to studying Mechanical Engineering, knowledge that he brings to bear in his installations. His work includes sculptures, performances and videos as well as interactive installations. Coleman was twice a participant in the VIPER Basel Festival in Switzerland and has had his work in exhibitions in Singapore, Finland, Sweden, Italy, Germany, France, China, the UK and Latvia. In North America he has had solo shows at Big Orbit in Buffalo NY, Pratt at Munson Williams Proctor in NY, and NE plus Ultra in Toronto as well as exhibitions at the Albright Knox in Buffalo NY, Spaces Gallery in Cleveland OH, and other shows in Minneapolis MN, Austin TX, and New York City to name a few. He currently resides in Denver, CO and is an Assistant Professor at the University of Denver.

Erin Elder is an independent curator, writer, and teacher interested in collaboration, sense of place, and expanded notions of culture. Her research has focused on Drop City, the first of the ‘60s era artist-built communes and she continues to research and write about the countercultural activities of the American Southwest. She has produced projects with a variety of institutions including Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Württembergischer Kunstverein, Creative Time, the Center for Land Use Interpretation, and the University of Houston. In 2009, Erin co-founded PLAND, an off-the-grid residency program near Taos, New Mexico where she is now based. Erin holds dual self-designed BAs from Prescott College and an MA in Curatorial Practice from California College of the Arts. She enjoys hiking, hot springs, and building forts.

Scott Johnson was born in 1969 and grew up in the Colorado Rockies. He obtained his BFA from The University of Colorado at Boulder and his MFA from Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. His work as an artist has been informed by such as experiences as herding cows on the Navajo Reservation, traveling upon the Silk Road and living in Venice, Italy. He presently teaches at The Colorado College in Colorado Springs.


Minette Church, PhD., Associate Professor of Anthropology is an anthropological archaeologist. Her research focus is on the nineteenth and early twentieth century United States West, where she explores Plains-Southwest interactions along the Santa Fe Trail, and the precedents for and ramifications of such interactions through time. She is particularly interested in archaeological expressions of gender, class, nationality, and ethnicity at several scales, from that of individual sites to cultural landscapes. She has pursued similar interests in western Belize, Central America, on Caste War era Maya village sites. Minette earned her B.A. in History and Anthropology in 1987, at the University of Colorado, Boulder. After three years of private sector archaeology on pre-Columbian sites across the west, she earned her M.A. in 1991, a Certificate in Museum Curatorship in 1992, and her Ph.D. 2001, all at the University of Pennsylvania.

Curt Holder, PhD., is Associate Professor of Geography at UCCS. Curt received his B.A. degree in geography from Clark University. After graduating from Clark, Curt developed an appreciation for the potential role of scientific knowledge in addressing community needs when he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guatemala (1988-1990). Curt worked on reforestation, soil conservation, and watershed management projects in Peace Corps, and following a two-year service, Curt received a M.A. degree in geography from the University of Georgia. Curt returned to Clark University for a Ph.D. in geography. Curt works at the nexus of hydrology, biogeography, and human-environment interactions in tropical montane cloud forests of the Sierra de las Minas Biosphere Reserve in Guatemala. Results from his studies have contributed to the theory of vegetation influences on watershed management by addressing the significance of fog precipitation in hydrological models. His current research focuses on three topical areas, including vegetation-atmosphere processes in tropical montane cloud forests, foliar biogeography and ecology, and human influences on forest change in Guatemala.

Curt is currently working on two major research projects: the first project was funded by the National Science Foundation and examines the significance of leaf water repellency, leaf optical properties, and photosynthesis of cloud forest and non-cloud forest species in order to expand existing hydrological and ecophysiological models for cloud forests. The objectives of this study are to define the spatial patterns of leaf water repellency between different habitats and to assess its importance in the overall water balance in cloud forests. With a clearer understanding of the interactive responses between leaf water repellency, gas exchange, and leaf optical properties among dominant species at a site and between sites, better models of forest hydrology processes can be formulated that incorporate leaf surface variables. As well as conducting extensive fieldwork on tropical ecosystems, Curt's research experience also includes investigations of temperate forests. As a trained forest hydrologist and biogeographer, he relies on a multidisciplinary approach to address research questions that often requires a research team from various disciplines to understand relationships between social and physical processes.

Janel Owens, PhD., is Assistant Professor of Chemistry at UCCS. Dr. Owens graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry with Honors from Southwestern University, a small liberal arts college in central Texas, in 2003, and a PhD in 2007 from the University of California at Davis where she was part of the Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry graduate group. Postdoctoral research was conducted in a position at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Current research interests include the development of quantitative methods for the analysis of pharmaceuticals, personal care products, and nanomaterials in foods and environmentally relevant samples. Of particular interest is the interaction and effect of food components (such as polyphenolics or similar antioxidants) on the stability and bioavailability of such environmental pollutants.

Brandon Vogt, PhD., is Assistant Professor of Geography at UCCS. He received his BS in resource management from the University of Missouri in 1992, his MA and PhD in Geography from Arizona State University in 2002. His current research is related to 1) sandstone weathering in southeast Colorado, 2) mapping Late Pleistocene glacial landforms on Pikes Peak, 3) pedagogy for classroom and field studies curricula in physical geography, and 4) cloud-to-ground lightning interactions with topographic high points in southeast Colorado.

David J. Weiss, PhD., is Associate Professor of Analytical Chemistry at UCCS. He received his B.S. in 1992 from the University of California, Riverside and his Ph.D. in 1997, from the University of Kansas. Postdoctoral research was conducted as a Fellow at the University of Kansas, 1997-2000. Dr. Weiss' research involves the development of enzyme based biosensors for diagnosis and monitoring diseases such as PKU, and developing new capillary electrophoresis methods for the analysis of pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, and chemical warfare agents.