John Chervinsky Statement

Artist Statement
An Experiment in Perspective

"A point of view can be a dangerous luxury when substituted for insight and understanding." – Marshall McLuhan

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 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 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 spatial 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 Experiment 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.

Studio Physics

A Photographic Investigation into the Nature of Time, Light, Space and Gravity.

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.

We are all aware of the great pioneering time and motion studies done by practitioners such as Eadweard Muybridge, Harold “Doc” Edgerton and even the experimental work of Bernice Abbott done during the late 1950s at MIT. That work investigate motion with image capture intervals ranging from 100 nanoseconds (the time of the pulse of a fast strobe) to the several seconds it takes for a horse to trot in front of a reference grid. In fact, most contemporary photographers work somewhere within that range. What would happen then, if we decided to work outside of that range? What would happen if we picked an image capture interval of not seconds, but weeks?

This conceptual work in progress, will investigate the physical phenomena of still and moving objects in space over time.

My process is as follows: 1) Compose and photograph a still life. 2) Crop a subset of the image and send it to a painting factory in China. 3) Wait for an anonymous artist in China to complete an actual oil painting of the cropped section, and send it to me in the mail. 4) Reinsert the painting into the original setup and re-photograph.

As with previous work, I’m interested in issues relating to perspective. I’m interested in the tensions expressed in the comparison between reality vs. representation. I’m interested what happens when I collaborate with another artist that has no idea that they are involved in a collaboration, and I’m interested in seeing and expressing subtle changes over time that we might otherwise take for granted.

Process Statement
An Experiment in Perspective Images are shot onto 4x5, Polaroid Type 55 film, using a Sinar View Camera. Negatives are scanned and then printed with an Epson 7800 printer using Inkjet Control RIP. All prints are archival inkjets; 18x23” images on 23x28” Hahnemuhle Photo Rag paper with hand deckled edges. Studio Physics Images are shot onto 4x5, Fuji Provia Slide film, using a Sinar View Camera. The transparencies are scanned and then printed with an Epson 7800 printer.

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