Josie Lewis isn't the first person to grow art in a petri dish, but she claims to be the first to use resin to produce colorful petri dish creations reminiscent of an exploding supernova.
Based in Minnesota, Lewis tells Mental Floss that she's been using resin in her work for over a decade. Last year, she started experimenting with adding different chemicals to uncured resin. "I used all sorts of paints and inks and solvents like a science lab to see what would happen," she says. "At some point I discovered that when I used certain inks with resin in a certain sequence, strange, colorful forms and growths would develop."
After mixing the ink and resin together in a petri dish, she seals the container, flips it upside down, and leaves it to bloom over 12 hours. That means Lewis has no idea what the piece looks like until she flips it over and removes the disc from the mold the next day.
The result is a clash of irregular shapes and vibrant colors that work together as striking abstract art. Lewis says the patterns remind her of petrified wood, which is why she named the project "Petrified Rainbows," but the technicolor swirls defy definition. She also compares them to neon mushrooms, mermaid skin, and the Big Bang. "There's a beautiful biological element to them, but the colors are so vibrant and edgy they also have a futuristic, engineered feel," she says. "They could be microscopic bio-chemically enhanced nerve agents."
All images courtesy of Josie Lewis.