Paper Sculptures Depict Bacteria in the Human Body as a Coral Reef

If you could shrink yourself down like cartoon schoolteacher Ms. Frizzle and take a journey through your own microbiota, it might look a bit like scuba-diving through a coral reef. Each individual strain of bacteria, fungi or archaea (single-celled organisms with no cell nucleus) is surprisingly beautiful in its own way, often manifesting as an intricate geometric shape or fractal pattern. Artist Rogan Brown shows us just how scenic the ‘foreign’ bodies within our own bodies can be with a new series of paper cut sculptures called Magic Circle Variations.

This is far from Brown’s first foray into rendering bacteria in paper; we’ve marveled for years over his ‘infectiously intricate’ works, which have mostly appeared in solid white thus far. In 2015, he brought his individual bacterial sculptures together for the first iteration of ‘Magic Circle’ with a 40-inch-wide circular display. The soft pastel colors of Magic Circle Variations 2018 set it apart from the rest.

Each piece can take months to cut. If you take a close look, you’ll see that the individual strains depicted in the reef collage consist of many pieces of paper cut and layered to create three-dimensional shapes. Like a surgeon or a scientist, Brown slices larger pieces with a scalpel while others are hand-drawn and laser-cut.

Magic Circle Variations 2018 will be exhibited with C Fine Art at the Art Market Hamptons July 5-8th 2018.