Bridging the Art & Science Divide with Senior Haley Gouchenour

“It seems like there is a divide, but neither side can see how much they both need each other in order to exist.”—Haley Gouchenour

One of Gouchenour’s final pieces from her metalsmithing course, each metal representing a tooth layer. Nickel for enamel; brass for the yellow under layer; ruby inlay for the nerve layer.

If you are travelling on the path from the Science Building to the Art and Design Building, you might just bump into Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville student Haley Gouchenour. A senior majoring in Integrative Biology with a minor in Studio 3-D Art, Gouchenour gladly divides her time between the two departments. On the biological side of things, she was just accepted into the University’s School of Dental Medicine and for all things art, she is currently working on a final project in her glassworking class.

Gouchenour just happens to be one of the students who is exploring the relationship between art and science and her work certainly demonstrates the strong connection between the two. “The reason I chose dentistry is because it encompasses both science and art. In order to get the desired result, you need to have the critical thinking skills, attention for detail, and dexterity to drill a crown, for example,” said Gouchenour.

Gouchenour noted the role of both of her biology and art professors in helping her to arrive at this special convergence. “I feel like, as a professor, there is a very fine line between providing the tools necessary to be successful versus just providing answers. Dr. Peterson, my microbiology professor, has really pushed me to understand the process of science, rather than just memorizing the material. I know that if I had a different professor, I would not feel the same way I do about microbiology.” Gouchenour has even carried lessons from microbiology over and incorporated them into her art classes, depicting subjects like symbiosis in sandblasted works. “It is really great to be able to apply my knowledge from my science courses and then turn around and use that in my art classes and vice versa.”

For her final project in glassworking class, Gouchenour  has been working diligently on the coronal portion of a tooth with roots. “I am honestly amazed and feel privileged to have someone like Paul Dresang as my instructor. He has such a sincere desire to teach and his work is even in the Smithsonian,” she stated with enthusiasm. “Professor Dresang saw how comfortable I was making functional art and challenged me to make something new.”

Early in November, Gouchenour spent two days at the world-renowned fair, Sculpture Objects Functional Art and Design (SOFA). She will graduate in the spring of 2019 and begin her first semester at SIUE’s School of Dental Medicine the following fall.


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