Cerebral Cortex, 2010, 18 x 24 in.
Hippocampus II, detail, 2010, 42 x 42 in.
Glomerulus, 2008, ink on xuan with digital manipulation
Olfactory Bulb, 2010, 11 x 14 in.
Gold Cortex, detail
Hippocampus II, 2010, 42 x 42 in.
Retina I, 2010, 18 x 24 in.
Mica and Ink Cortex, 2010, 48 x 72 in.
Black and Gold Purkinjes, 2010, 16 x 16 in.
Synaptogenesis, 24 x 26 in.
I enjoy Asian art. I particularly love minimalist scroll and screen painting from the Edo period in Japan. I am also a fan of neuroscience. Therefore, it was a fine day when two of my passions came together upon the realization that the elegant forms of neurons (the cells that comprise your brain) can be painted expressively in the Asian sumi-e style. Neurons may be tiny in scale, but they posess the same beauty seen in traditional forms of the medium (trees, flowers, and animals).
I admire the Japanese, Chinese, and Korean masters because of their confidence in simplicity. I try to emulate this idea.
When I’m not doing this I’m working on a doctorate in neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania, to which I give a thumbs up.
About The Artist
Greg Dunn is a visual artist and has a Ph.D in neuroscience from the University of Pennsylvania. It’s not so easy to tell at first glance whether Dunn is painting a branching pattern of a plant or that of a neuron. But maybe that’s the point. Dunn’s eye seems attuned to the dazzling beauty packed into the cellular architecture of each square millimeter of our nervous system, architecture that repeats itself all around us.
The neuronal imagery in Dunn’s paintings appears to draw some influence from the early 20th century drawings of stained neurons by foundational figures like Santiago Ramon y Cajal. Yet Dunn’s work presents another clear influence, one that the artist himself discusses in the interview below. He is a deep admirer of a diverse range of pan-Asian artwork, and in his work this influence has made for elegant renderings of individual neurons and larger regions that exhibit both what Dunn calls the “raw and bold” quality of some Japanese and Chinese ink drawing traditions as well as their “simple, emotional, and direct” nature. (The Beautiful Brain)