Cut Microbe 2

Rogan Brown makes four-dimensional paper sculptures of microbes. He calls himself a scientific surrealist, and the fourth dimension is time.

The time element the 48-year-old artist is referring to is the four to five months it takes to make the sculptures using his Epilog laser cutter. Brown prefers to use paper as his primary medium because “it’s a humble material, everyone can access it … I use a populist technique that allows the public to access something that might be beyond their comprehension.”

After living in London for many years, Brown relocated to a remote area bordering a national park in southern France. “I was trying to find a way into seeing what was surrounding me because the traditional art forms of representing nature didn’t appeal,” he says.

He purchased a microscope and found himself captivated by the precise observations he recorded in the environment around him. “Detailed scientific drawings of nature look completely surreal,” Brown explains. “We live in a scientific age and artists engage in the dominant narrative.”

Brown’s microbe exhibit, “Invisible You,” will be on display for the next five years at the Eden Project, an educational charity in the U.K. He is also exhibiting “Outbreak,” a huge installation of 800 microbes flowing out of a petri dome and crawling over the gallery walls, at The Coda Museum in the Netherlands from June through September of this year.