Paper artist Rogan Brown, featured previously here, finds an exquisite beauty in even the most deadly pathogens, of which he constructs astonishingly detailed replicas from thinly cut and layered paper. For Outbreak, he maps out a stunning typography of microbes, neurons, and human cells. Renowned for his fastidious process, Brown spends up to five months on a single piece, a true labor of love that serves as a testament to the reverence he holds for the organic world. Here, the smallest microcosms of the human body are expanded, made vivid and sparkling. In complex webs, they form an impressive interlocking network that is heartbreakingly delicate and fragile.
Where disease-causing pathogens and microbes are typically disparaged as unsavory or unclean, Brown’s masterful and unparalleled craft recreates them in dazzling white, like organic snowflakes possessing endless wonderment. In a fast-paced culture increasingly dominated by technology, Brown draws inspiration from the likes of the romantic poet William Blake, who married his love for the earth with a thirst for the divine and mysterious in nature. While he begins from scientific sketches by biologists like Ernst Haekel, the artist ultimately surrenders to the currents of his own imagination, allowing for the warmth of the human mind to color and transfigure the microscopic forms that make up our bodies. After all, isn’t our own evolution and living existence the most intricate and miraculous artwork of all? Take a look. (via Colossal)
We all know the story of Vincent van Gogh’s ear, an organ that the artist is rumored to have severed from his own head in a fit of lovesick madness. For her project Sugababe, the artist Diemut Strebe has recreated the living ear of the legendary Post-Impressionist. Teaming up with scientists and using an advanced 3D printing technique, Strebe constructed the true-to-life organ from a sample of the late artist’s DNA found in an envelope that he had licked in 1883 and live cartilage from the ear of Lieuwe van Gogh, a grandson of the painter’s brother. The replicated ear, now on view at The Center for Art and Media in Karlshruhe in Germany, is kept alive by being suspended in a solution laced with nutrients.
Strebe’s installation includes a microphone into which viewers can speak. The sound is then carried to the ear, which hears speech as a crackling noise that is projected through speakers for all to listen. For the artist, Sugababe is a physical manifestation of Theseus’ paradox, wherein the ancient Greek hero was asked if a ship would remain the same if all its individual parts were replaced with new ones. Here, Strebe asks if this clone of an ear might in fact be considered the same ear worn by van Gogh. Tragically unable to respond the viewers who speak to it, the organ seems startlingly alien. Though it is composed of the same elements as the original ear, it lacks the humanity and the romance we ascribe the artist whose molecular biology it shares.
Given the tragic history of the artist, Strebe’s work carries with it a sense of loss and poignancy. Where the living van Gogh was unappreciated— reviled, even—in his time, here even his tiny organ is preserved with the utmost care, his body transformed into a valuable work of art in and of itself. (via Design Boom and The Daily Beast)
Brazilian artist Henrique Oliveira creates monumental, site-specific installations that confront the viewer with oddly formed, but organic looking sculptures. Oliveira’s way of shaping and installing the material against the gallery wall make it seem like an ever-changing parasitic growth upon a manufactured, man-made landscape. The objects’ swirls, knots and root-like quality allude to both natural and artificial substances.
The artist’s way of merging varied materials, amongst them recycled wood and decayed debris from the Sao Paolo streets, suggest that the artist is interested in manipulating both indoor and outside space to finally create a harmonious coexistence between urban design, plant life, and biology. (via Design Boom)
Mixed media artist Travis Bedel, also known as bedelgeuse, seamlessly blends vintage anatomical illustrations with botanical or other biological images to create stunning collages that range anywhere from 5 inches to 6 feet in size. Bedel often uses glue and a razorblade to excise printed vintage illustrations, combining them into beautiful and surreal new iterations. He’ll also scan his images and manipulate them digitally because this technique provides him with more opportunity to play around with sizing, cutting, and pasting the various elements in his collages.
Of his interest in human anatomy, Bedel says, “I find the body beautiful and mysterious. I am amazed and what people can do with their bodies and how if you take care of your own body, the rewards are much greater than imagined. I believe a lot of self-healing takes place mentally and physically when you eat clean and stay active.”
Russian underwater photographer and biologist Alexander Semenov has created a new series of images that brilliantly captures a variety of deep sea worms known as polychaetes, some of which may be unknown to scientists. Semenov has spent many hours diving in places like the White Sea and Great Barrier Reef in Australia in order to get up close and personal with this creepy, crawly sea life. Altogether, Semenov photographed 222 different species of polychaetes that are currently being studied and documented by scientists.
Semenov first began photographing sea life for fun while organizing the White Sea Biological Station underwater projects. Using basic photography equipment, he’d get a few good shots every few months, and this eventually encouraged Semenov and his team to acquire more professional equipment. Semenov now produces images like the ones seen here, as well as a series of jellyfish and tiny creature images are all just as stunning. (via colossal)
What happens when molten aluminium is poured into an anthill, allowed to dry, then excavated and cleaned off? Anthill Art – an anonymous American artist – creates intricate metallic sculptures by doing just that. These forms reveal the depth and styles of various ant species’ hills, mainly from the beds of pesky fire ants. The complex and beautiful systems of these ant beds are revealed through this process, but has created a bit of controversy. People concerned with this method of sculpture work have commented on Anthill Art’s Facebook page, where the artist has responded generally to these concerns.
“I regret every day calling it anthillart. To be honest it was a short memorable name and I went with it. I’m not really a fan of art and would never refer to myself as an artist, I guess I considered the ants to be the artists (and architects). If someone created these themselves and called it art I would call it modern art crap. That the ants created it makes me love it.
I first started doing this just out of pure interest (always having been interested in biology and science). A few of my teacher friends took them to school and camp, the kids loved it and it really seemed to get them interested in science. So, I decided to start the site and try to sell a few.
The fire ant colonies are not abandoned. The justification being that there are so many of them and I need to kill them anyway, with kids and pets around. Plus they’re an invasive species in this area and wreak havoc. Some states have eradication programs. The other ants (usually carpenter ants), I try to find abandoned nests but it doesn’t always work out. Either way, I do it sparingly and the property is still over run with them.”
Bristol artist Camila Carlow creates these lovely renderings of human organs by foraging for wild plants, weeds, and the occasional animal part and then sculpting and arranging these various bits of flora. Her series, entitled “Eye ‘Heart’ Spleen,” recontextualizes images of organs such as a heart, lungs, stomach, uterus, liver, and testicles, demonstrating the reflection of internal biological structures with external natural structures. From Carlow’s site, “This work invites the viewer to regard our vital structures as beautiful living organisms, and to contemplate the miraculous work taking place inside our bodies, even in this very moment.” You can order prints and keep up with this particular project’s developments via its Facebook page. (via unknown editors)
Katie Scott is an illustrator and printmaker from England. Her works are equal parts 19th century science illustration and tarot card mysticism. Once you look at them long enough, all plants, and living organisms in general, start looking like inspired sculptures. Check out everything on her website, then go to the park and look at the plants!