john chervinsky

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about experiment in perspective


John Chervinsky was born and raised in the city of Niagara Falls, NY. He is a self taught photographer and engineer. He currently works for Harvard University’s Rowland Institute for Science, originally founded by Polaroid’s, Edwin H. Land. His diverse scientific background is evident in his ongoing series of conceptual still-lifes. He has spent 18 years running a particle accelerator at Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applies Sciences, and has used accelerator technology in the analysis of art, and collaborated with Harvard’s Fogg Art Museum and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.
His photographic work is held in numerous public and private collections. His Experiment in Perspective series has been traveling the country since it first opened at the Griffin Museum of Photography in 2005. He resides in Somerville, MA, with his wife, Kirsten.


A n    E xp er i m en t    i n    P er sp ect i ve

Artist Statement

Lenses and cameras are the tools of the trade for a working photographer, but it is the field of optics, as it relates to hu- man vision, that can carry with it multivalent symbolic possibilities for the artist. It can stand as a testament to our expan- sion of human knowledge and perception. It can also symbolize aspects of our weaknesses, thus leading to a greater understanding of the human condition. Are we prone to the same limitations as our trusty camera on a tripod, held to the earth, seeing the universe from a fixed and single point?
My exploration begins in my attic studio. In it are a pair of slate blackboards; they are illuminated with a single window aided by reflecting panels. One of the boards is placed in the vertical plane, the other in the horizontal. A large-format view camera points toward their line of intersection and records chalk markings, combined with real objects. I employ a mixed media approach with found and constructed objects as sculptural elements, while using chalk drawing as a spa- tial tool. I use Polariod Type 55 film because it produces an instant positive (for proofing) and a high-quality negative for scanning and printing.
I intend for these open-ended images to appear as imaginary, or even whimsical science demonstrations or physics experiments, complete with diagramatic embellishment. They are not intended to be scientifically factual, but more that they are reflective of the ongoing philosophical debates that have raged for centuries. While it is my intent that the work’s institutional learning motif places it into the world of ideas, it is not intended to be instructional. Rather, I see An Experi- ment in Perspective as posing questions without easy answers. My intent is not to express a single narrow perspective, but to, among other things, expose the pitfalls of doing so.