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  • Anatomy of an Artist

    The works of Ashland artist Micah Oftstedahl focus on elements of nature that are often too tiny to be seen
  • If famed surrealist Salvador Dali had developed an interest in microscopes, his art might have looked like the paintings of Ashland artist Micah Oftstedahl.
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  • If famed surrealist Salvador Dali had developed an interest in microscopes, his art might have looked like the paintings of Ashland artist Micah Oftstedahl.
    Oftstedahl focuses on elements of nature that are often too small to be seen with the naked eye.
    Whether he's painting single nerve cells or ocean-living zooplankton with ornate mineral skeletons, Oftstedahl gives his subjects a surreal, dream-like quality.
    He often hears people compare his paintings to Dali's artwork.
    "I hear it all the time when people look at my art," Oftstedahl said. "He did make these worlds, scenes and landscapes that are realistic but dream-like."
    While the flamboyant, mustachioed Dali is best known for his depictions of melting clocks, Oftstedahl is more likely to crack open the medical textbook "Gray's Anatomy" for inspiration.
    Oftstedahl said anatomy books are filled with illustrations that provide fodder for his art.
    "They have all sorts of cool images. They have things that you don't normally see that make up what we are and the rest of the world," he said.
    The 30-year-old began incorporating science elements into his work a few years ago and has now branched beyond anatomy to cover many aspects of the natural world. One favorite is radiolarians, zooplankton that produce incredibly intricate, symmetrical mineral skeletons.
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