Thursday, September 25, 2008

More About Surrealism

If you've been following my blog for a while, you know I paint mostly Western landscapes, especially desert scenes. But I'm a surreal sort of person, too. I used to paint in a surrealistic style, and have always like the works of early 20th century surrealists like Salvadore Dali, Rene Magritte, Paul Delvaux and Yves Tanguy.

The last artist in that list holds a special fascination for me. I used to use electron microscopes a lot in my science days (grad school and jobs), and one type of scope -- the scanning electron microscope (SEM) -- produced images that looked very much like Tanguy's paintings: a microscopic world inhabited by bacteria, teeny-tiny fragments of bone and other hard-to-describe features.

I've made a few paintings that combined Tanguy's look with things I've seen under the SEM. I've posted one example of this above. This is what one might see if shrunk down to microscopic size, with bacterial cells of E. coli and Staphylococcus strewn all around. (Of course, I doubt our eyes or anything else would function if we were reduced to a micrometer in height, but that's beside the point!)

If we could see with God's eyes...

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