Paper microbes: work by artist Rogan Brown

“Open your eyes! Beauty is everywhere, in the smallest bush, the tiniest leaf! Go and look at it before it disappears.” – Rogan Brown, artist.

Cut Microbe © Rogan Brown 2015

Cut Microbe © Rogan Brown 2015
Hand cut paper

I recently discovered artist Rogan Brown‘s incredible paper sculptures thanks to the Emerald Street newsletter. Brown painstakingly hand cuts and layers sheets of paper to form incredibly detailed sculptures referencing scientific close-ups of cell structures, microbes, insects, shells and the body’s organs and orifices. His works can take months to complete.

Brown’s exploration and observation of nature mixes science and art, exactly what I try to achieve in my we are stardust shop:

“By mixing science and art, observation and imagination I hope to elucidate both, the breathtaking detail and complexity that exists at every level of scale in nature transformed by the eccentricity of the individual imagination.” – Rogan Brown, artist.

I love how Brown describes the limitations of science too:

“A recurrent theme in my work is the limitations of science when confronted by the vast scale and complexity of nature, science’s goal of containing and defining nature is constantly subverted and fractured by the sheer volume and variety of data that needs to be observed, analysed and classified. My work similarly attempts to frustrate categorization.” – Rogan Brown, artist.

Cut Microbe

One sculpture I particularly like (perhaps because I work at the London School of Tropical Hygiene and Medicine) is Cut Microbe. The work is inspired by ecoli and salmonella bacteria and took four months to cut by hand. At over 112cms or 44″ in length this hand cut sculpture of a bacterium is half a million times bigger than the real thing.

“People often marvel at the time I spend on a sculpture but Time is the fourth dimension that gives my work part of its value. Few other art forms foreground the amount of time spent making them as paper cut sculpture does: every cut is a moment. The end result is the sense of something incredibly hard won and precious which is precisely the message I wish to convey: we need enormous concentration and effort to really SEE and appreciate what we see.” – Rogan Brown, artist.

Want to see Rogan Brown’s paper sculptures?

Rogan Brown will be exhibiting his work at the Eden Project’s Invisible You: The Human Microbiome exhibition from 22 May 2015.


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