Enigmas in art
For the series An Experiment in Perspective , Harvard engineer John Chervinsky turned to the world of art to play with forms and ideas and to pose “questions without easy answers.” Shot with Polaroid Type 55 film against blackboard backgrounds, his still-life tableaux juxtapose interesting gizmos with energetic patterns drawn in chalk. A selection from the series can be seen in an exhibit opening on Friday, Feb. 20, at Photo-eye Bookstore + Project Space. On the cover is Hand of Man , an archival pigment inkprint from 2005.
FWhat brought the kindred spider to that height, Then steered the white moth thither in the night?
— from “Design” by Robert Frost
ew of the black-and-white photographs in John Chervinsky’s An Experiment in
Perspective series breathe to us a clear message. But 2003’s Design — showing a mazelike, chalk-drawn figure over a black box — contains fairly direct references to a 1922 Robert Frost poem with the same title, and specifically to what the poet intuits may be a “design of darkness.”
Chervinsky said that in the poem “there is a spider that spins a web around a moth and kills it. The poem basically suggests that if there is such a thing as some kind of grand design, it seems like a sinister thing rather than the world being a beautiful place entirely for our benefit. The box is sort of a dark, coffinlike shape, and the chalk maze refers to the spider web.” The print is one of nine from An Experiment in
Perspective , showing at Photo-eye Bookstore + Project Space from Friday, Feb. 20. The shop also carries Chervinsky’s book version of the series. Limited to an edition of 15 copies, it features gorgeous inkjet prints made by the photographer, which were cut and handsewn by students at the North Bennet Street School in Boston. Chervinsky did the book project with the nonprofit photography organization Light Work, in Syracuse.“I was rebelling against the blurbification of books, but it ended up being a tremendous amount of work,” the photographer told Pasatiempo . “It was a