Sculptures That Mimic Microorganisms made from paper
Despite having a variety of unique shapes, some of nature’s most intriguing buildings are too tiny to be seen with the unaided eye. Even though living microbes are all around us, we cannot see their astonishing elegance until in science texts or under a microscope. But with his immensely elaborate paper creations that mirror the shapes and forms of these little marvels, artist Rogan Brown makes the invisible apparent.
Rogan enhances microscopic structures by turning them into spectacular paper creations, drawing inspiration from intricate cellular compositions, microorganisms, and fossils. Every intricate item is painstakingly hand-cut from white paper with a scalpel as a labour of love. His material selection highlights the beauty and sturdiness of environment. The observer is drawn into the layers of delicately cut white paper, which nudges us to take the time to marvel at the enormous tiny structures that are all around each other and within our own bodies.
The elegance of the common biological process of mitosis is highlighted in 2 of Rogan’s most recent pieces, titled Cytokinesis Variations (or cell division). „Millions of cells in your body are constantly multiplying and reproducing to restore and maintain your skin, hair, gut, and other bodily organs, among other things. My Contemporary Met quotes Rogan as saying, „Cytokinesis is the last and most spectacular phase of mitosis when the cell wall ruptures and splits in 2 to generate identical daughter cells. „I have attempted to capture the pinnacle of being and metamorphosis.“
We previously spoke with Rogan to learn more about his motivation and creative approach. For our unique interview, keep reading.
What sparked your passion in paper art, and what do you enjoy best about using it?
My interest was accidentally sparked when experimenting in the studio with various materials. Paper intrigues me, thus I grew to adore it as a medium. The structural stability of few other substances can be preserved while being cut in this way. Despite the fact that paper is taken from a tree and changed into a sheet, its force and strength are retained and can be seen in my work. Paper is fragile and brittle but also, strangely, very robust and enduring. To reach a poetic equilibrium, I attempt in some way to reclaim that might and force. I nearly always work on white paper because it gives my pieces a delicate, ethereal aspect, enhances the effects of light and shadow, and replicates the aesthetics of electron micrographs. This is what the artist must do: encourage people to open their eyes and take the time to observe, able to break free from their automatic habits of seeing. The white-on-white layers make the piece virtually disappear, requiring the viewer to strain their eyes to see it.
Why do you feel compelled to paint the intricacy of nature?
My artworks are chimaeras that combine the shapes and forms I see in nature in various settings and at various scales. I spent ten years living in a rural, isolated area of southern France, encircled by mountains and forests. I spent a lot of time exploring the countryside by foot while sketching, photographing, and attempting to understand it and interact with it creatively, but nature is too huge, too overpowering, and difficult to perceive all at once. Where do you begin? alongside the forest? which tree? the limb? which leaf? the architecture of cells? the atoms? The elements?
Because everything in our environment is composed of a variety of smaller components, its size and scope are both intimidating and finally beyond our ability to fully comprehend. My art aims to both investigate and embody these concepts.
Do you have any scientific training?
Although I lack a scientific education, science is undoubtedly a vital tool in my work because it provides us with a way to understand the universe we live in as well as a way to observe environment more clearly.
What aspect of living, microscopic organisms most intrigues you?
Despite the fact that I am aware of the immense ecosystem of living things that surrounds, covers, and resides inside of me, I am unable to see it. Instead, I can only picture it. Making the unseen visible is one of my aims as a visual artist, as is developing an approachable model for something that is essentially unimaginable.
Every piece is really meticulous. How long does it take you to finish one of your works? Can you explain your artistic thinking?
Each item begins with a sketch, and the final product is actually a layered, three-dimensional painting. Little sketches serve as the foundation for my detailed full-scale designs, which are then cut by hand with a scalpel (as in the cases of „Cut Microbe“ and „Outbreak“) or optionally with a laser (e.g., Magic Circle Variation). Then, every layer is set on top of the other, adhered, and pinned into position. Every cut is placed on concealed foam board and card spacers that are 1 or 2 cm deep.
Would you mind sharing any forthcoming projects you have?
For several years now, I’ve been working on a very huge sculpture that measures 10 feet by 5 feet and was influenced by both corals and the human body. It is an effort to persuade people that the natural environment is not something that exists outside of us but rather is a part of us. We shall all perish if the coral reefs bleach and die. If we don’t grasp this lesson quickly, we’ll cause some irreparable harm.