Deck the Halls – John Chervinsky

In December, the month of giving, we are highlighting our talented gallery artists who give us the gift of their work. It is their insights that inspire us, help us grow, challenge us and surround us with inspiration.

In this month of December, we are thrilled to have our talented gallery artist John Chervinsky on our walls. His exhibition, Studio Physics takes a look at the complex nature between science and art. It is this intersection of time, space and vision that makes John’s work so unique. In his first series, An Experiment in Perspective, John challenges spatial relations by posing two blackboards at a right angle to create a shallow stage for his contemplative still lifes. He then draws with chalk on the boards to introduce optical play and scientific notation.

Chervinsky-The Pitfalls of Measurement 2006

The Pitfalls of Measurement, 2006

John uses a visual vocabulary of scientific calculation and experimentation that is rooted in his work as a physics researcher at Harvard’s Rowland Institute. In An Experiment in Perspective, positivist chalk diagrams and instruments imply the measurement of the human tendency to take personal perspective as fact. As if professional physics and beautiful photographic projects weren’t enough, the artist is also remarkably eloquent about his work. On An Experiment in Perspecive, he explains:

“Lenses and cameras are the tools of the trade for a working photographer, but it is the field of optics as it relates to human vision that can carry with it the multivalent symbolic possibilities for the artist. It can stand as a testament to our expansion of human knowledge and perception. It can also symbolize aspects of 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?”

We are thrilled to announce the acquisition of John’s photograph All Watched Over into the collection of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. It will be on the walls in their upcoming exhibition, Heavenly Bodies, opening in February of 2014.

Hope, 2004

Hope, 2004

In his most recent series, Studio Physics, John Chervinsky is again interested in space and perception. Delving into color work, he also wanted to capture the passage of time. He writes, “I am fascinated by the concept of time. I can measure it, account for it in an experiment in the lab, and live my life in it, but I still don’t know what it is, exactly.”

Apples, Painting on Door, 2011

Apples, Painting on Door, 2011

This series begins with a still life set up in the artist’s studio. He photographs and crops out a section, which he then attaches to an email sent to a painting factory in China. An unknown hand completes an oil painting of the cropped section, which is mailed back to the photographer’s studio. Chervinsky replaces the painting in the original still life, which has been decaying for the weeks of waiting for the mail. The still life arrangement is rephotographed depicting that elongated passage of time. Sometimes the artist adds back in a touch of the split-second, sending apples spinning on strings or an orange flying through the air.

Oranges, Box & Painting on Door, 2011

Oranges, Box & Painting on Door, 2011

Both series are wonderfully original, playful, and refreshing to view. Come by the gallery this month to see them in person, or shop the show online.

These are archival ink jet prints in editions of 15. An Experiment in Perspective images are 18×23″ on 23×28″ paper with deckled edges. Prints are $1,800. Studio Physics photographs are 24×30″ unframed and $2,400 each.

About the artist

John Chervinsky is a self-taught photographer and an engineer working in the field of applied physics. Since it first opened at the Griffin Museum of Photography in 2005, his “Experiment in Perspective” series has been traveling the country, including solo exhibits at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory Art Gallery in Batavia, Ill.; the Michael Mazzeo Gallery in New York, and the Blue Sky Gallery in Portland, Ore. His work is held in numerous public and private collections including the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the Museum of Art in Portland, Ore., and the Fidelity Investments Collection. Chervinsky spent 18 years running a particle accelerator at Harvard University and has collaborated with museums, using accelerator technology in the analysis of art. He currently works at Harvard’s Rowland Institute for Science, founded by Polaroid’s Edwin H. Land. His first solo exhibition at wall space gallery, Santa Barbara, was in summer 2011.

See his recent interview in the Los Angeles Times reFramed blog here.

Balloon, Rock on Table with Painting, 2010

Balloon, Rock on Table with Painting, 2010

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