Many of nature’s objects feature recurring patterns and motifs described as fractals, which can be seen repeating themselves at increasing levels of magnification. Inspired by this phenomenon, artist Rogan Brown creates intricately cut paper art that mimics and compares various organic formations such as cell structures, microbes, shells, and fossils. His latest series, titled Magical Circle Variations, explores the surprising visual similarities between coral reefs and microorganisms found in the human body.
Brown’s intricate work features a myriad pastel-colored, layered paper cut-outs in the shape of bacteria, archaea, and fungi when observed under a microscope. His incredibly detailed artwork mirrors the diverse colors and complex textures found in underwater ecosystems filled with stony corals, sea anemones, and tiny marine species.
Brown explains, “What the reef and the microbiome have in common is that they both consist of biodiverse colonies of organisms that coexist more or less harmoniously.” He continues, “There are further parallels between coral and human beings in that we are both symbiont organisms, that is we depend on a mutually beneficial relationship with another species: coral only receive their beautiful colors from varieties of algae that live on them and human beings can only exist thanks to the unimaginably huge and diverse number of bacteria that live in and on them.”