Galleries of Contemporary Art to open ‘Bituminous’ at GOCA121 gallery

"China Express: Powder River Basin Wyoming to Cherry Point Washington: Mining - Transporting - Exporting to China" by Carlan Tapp, silver gelatin photograph 2013.
“China Express: Powder River Basin Wyoming to Cherry Point Washington: Mining – Transporting – Exporting to China” by Carlan Tapp, silver gelatin photograph 2013.

Four contemporary artists will address the legacy of coal in the American West in “Bituminous,” an exhibit opening, April 1 at the UCCS Galleries of Contemporary Art downtown GOCA121 gallery, 121 S. Tejon St.

A free public reception will be 5-9 p.m April 1, with an exhibit tour with artists and curator from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Refreshments will be provided by Nosh restaurant.

Artist Carlan Tapp will give a lecture 1 p.m. April 2 in the downtown gallery titled “China Express.” The lecture is free and open to the public.

The exhibit will be on display through May 21. Regular gallery hours are noon to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, or by appointment.

"Anthracite Studies" by Amelia Carley, oil on canvas 2015.
“Anthracite Studies” by Amelia Carley, oil on canvas 2015.

“Bituminous” is part of Pollinate 2016, a biennial arts festival that convenes arts organizations in southern Colorado to explore one compelling topic through exhibitions, events and experiences. The 2016 topic is energy. Pollinate features a one-week festival of events, April 1 – 9, 2016.  Learn more at

“Bituminous” explores coal consumption and production in the western United States through the work of four contemporary artists, Michael Bernhardt, Amelia Carley, William T. Carson, and Carlan Tapp. Coal mining’s history in the United States iss intertwined with political, social justice and environmental issues since the late 1800s. The Industrial Revolution drove the rise of coal consumption and it continues to play a central energy role as countries such as China industrialize.

"Project for Disaster Mitigation" by Michael Bernhardt, mixed-media drawing 2012.
“Project for Disaster Mitigation” by Michael Bernhardt, mixed-media drawing 2012.

Coal figures heavily in the recent past, present and future in southern Colorado. Using a variety of media, the artists in this exhibition address a range of concepts including regional coal mining history, coal trains across the Western United States, exports of coal to China, Colorado Springs’ Drake power plant and the promise of clean coal.

Michael Bernhardt is a self-styled artist, designer and inventor making work across a range of media. Having spent his early years as an amateur actor and theatrical technician, he graduated with a BFA in pottery and art education from Colorado State University in 1999 and earned an MFA in painting and drawing from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2009. Bernhardt has shown nationally and internationally, including Xiao Shan Xiao in KaiFeng, Henan, China in 2010 and solo shows in Denver through 2012. His work was published in the October 2009 edition of New American Paintings and in Propeller Magazine with the collaboration Barchael. Bernhardt currently serves as an assistant professor of studio foundations in the Department of Art at Metropolitan State University of Denver. For more information, visit

Amelia Carley was born in Colorado Springs and raised south of Denver. Carley graduated with honors from the University of Colorado Boulder receiving a BFA in painting and drawing along with bachelor’s degrees in psychology and Italian.

Carley has participated in various artist-in-residence programs including Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont, and the Contemporary Artist Center at Woodside in Troy, New York. She regularly exhibits locally and nationally most recently at Vertigo Art Space, Dnever, Denver, SOMArts, San Francisco, California, and Colorado Photographic Arts Center, Denver. She recently relocated to Atlanta, Georgia, to pursue a master’ in fine arts in painting and drawing at the Ernest G. Welsh School of Art and Design at Georgia State University.  For more information, visit

William T. Carson is an artist, designer, and photographer currently based out of Austin, Texas.  He draws inspiration from the history, people, and landscape of the American West. He cites his love for land and the West as stemming from childhood in two rural places: a cattle ranch in Montana and a small island in Washington’s Salish Sea. Carson graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Colorado College in 2015. For more information, visit

Carlan Tapp is a documentary photographer, lifelong educator and Wicocomico Tribe descendant who studied photography at Art Center College of Design. After graduation, he worked with the National Park Service using photography to document socially caused changes in the natural environment. In the 1970’s, Carlan had the privilege of assisting the late Ansel Adams and was inspired by Adams’ love of the natural landscape. His series of fine art photographs devoted to Mt. Rainier are now in permanent collections in China, Australia, Seattle and Mt. Rainier National Park. In 2005, Carlan established a non-profit foundation, Naamehnay Project – Question of Power. The foundation createsstories of individuals, families and communities affected by the extraction, production, consumption and waste materials of coal in the creation of electricity for America. For more information, visit

GOCA is a regional hub of contemporary art, culture, and conversation. By featuring world-class artists, hosting artist and expert talks, and offering meaningful events, GOCA engages UCCS students, faculty, staff and Pikes Peak Region community members in contemporary culture and life. GOCA is a contemporary arts organization with two galleries, one founded on the UCCS campus in 1981 and a satellite downtown location that opened in 2010 in the Plaza of the Rockies building.

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