This painting is based upon the histological study of a dorsal root ganglion. In short, the ganglia contain the cell bodies of sensory neurons which send messages to the spinal cord.
In this painting, the colored circular spots (which are made of sand in the original) represent cellular cytoplasm rich with golgi bodies. On the left is a hint of the spine.
My artistic inspiration for this painting was the art of Gustav Klimt. He often combined a soft realism in the faces and hands of his figures but as a contrast would then cover and surround them with richly patterned fabrics that appeared flat and therefore purely decorative. This seemed like the perfect arrangement to emulate the Klimt style.