art inspired by algae
phycographia is a series of etchings and mezzotints, which are a scientist’s exploration of his own material and also an artist’s exploitation of novel imagery. The usual scientific media for recording microscopical images (camera lucida drawing and photography) are exchanged for the traditional methods of the fine arts to create pictures of the microcosmos. The two phycographia series focus on this smallest of worlds, via ‘landscapes’ (the etchings) and ‘portraits' (the mezzotints). They show cells of diatoms and dinoflagellates, two of the most important and intriguing types of one-celled plant.
Currently, the sets comprise 11 etchings and 16 mezzotints (etchings 51.5 × 61 cm print area, 70 × 83.5 paper size; mezzotints 10 × 15 cm print area, 37.5 × 52.5 paper size).
phycographia grew out of work done by David Mann during a part-time BA at Edinburgh College of Art, in which he concentrated on print-making and drawing, using algae and protozoa as inspiration for images at the science–art interface. David exhibits regularly in national exhibitions (see art cv).