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Greg Dunn was on his way to a Ph.D. in neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania when he realized that bringing the brain’s beauty to life was a more suitable role for him than lab work. He started in ink, inspired by Chinese, Japanese, and Korean paintings and the similarities he found in the microscopic world of neurons and the macroscopic world of trees, flowers, and other landscape images.
From there, he branched out to microetchings, gold leaf, scrolls, and murals. Microetching, which consists of creating animated images by precisely controlling light’s reflection off of surfaces, was invented by Dunn and collaborator Brian Edwards, Ph.D., an applied physicist at the University of Pennsylvania. ”Microetchings are made through a complex process of hand drawing, computer manipulation, algorithmic simulation, photolithography, gilding, and strategic lighting design,” he explains. “No images are taken verbatim from a photograph or scan.”
Here is just a small sampling of work. More can be found on his website and at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, the National Gallery of China, the Museum of Science in Boston, some of the top universities and medical centers in the US, and in private collections. Dunn, who resides with his family in Sofia, Bulgaria, but maintains a studio in Philadelphia, sees his art “as a reference in brain-related fields due to its scientific accuracy and ability to engage the public in the complex themes of the brain.”
We agree. Enjoy the show.
This article first appeared in the Spring 2021 issue of our Cerebrum magazine. Click the cover for the full e-magazine.