November 7 – December 27
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 Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory Art Gallery, Batavia IL, Michael Mazzeo Gallery, NYC and Blue Sky Gallery, Portland OR. His work is held in numerous public and private collections including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Museum of Art, Portland OR; and Fidelity Investments Collection. His work has been featured internationally in publications including LeMond, South Korea’s Photo+ and The Los Angeles Times. Chervinsky spent eighteen years running a particle accelerator at Harvard University and has collaborated with museums, using accelerator technology in the analysis of art. He currently works for The Rowland Institute at Harvard, originally founded by Polaroid’s Edwin H. Land.
Photography and physics playfully intermingle in John Chervinsky’s photographs. There is a beautiful correlation between the work of an artist and that of a scientist, where good work happens when curiosity is exercised through play. Chervinsky’s work connects us to this process. He mixes elements of optics and perspective as a means of exploring human knowledge and perception.
In Studio Physics Chervinsky plays hide and seek with the viewer, knowing that we’ll make assumptions about what we see, and knowing just when to challenge those assumptions. We often think of a photograph as capturing one moment in time, however, he has found a mischievous way to present two moments, or even a whole stretch of time, in the same frame.
In An Experiment in Perspective, the compositions are balanced and well-contained; they feel like mental exercises floating on a sort of chalkboard of the mind. The term ‘still life’ seems like a misnomer in the most delightful sense. Although these are still pictures of objects, they vibrate with kinetic activity. Wheels and weights and dotted lines travel their course and create a web of imagined mechanisms.
Chervinsky has developed his own photographic language here with symbols that suggest a logic that the viewer cannot fully decode. The subjects are open-ended, and each one forms questions that feel as if they could carry on in to the next frame.
– Mia Dalglish + Lisa Woodward
John Chervinsky: Studio Physics + An Experiment in Physics