Abstract Implosionism, 2007


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.

A Little Bit of Atmosphere, 2006

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. 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 Harvard’s Rowland Institute for Science, originally founded by Polaroid’s Edwin H. Land.


The Analysis, 2005
The Key, 2009
Hemispheres, 2010
Entropy, 2003
Where Fruit Comes From, 2010
The Pitfalls of Measurement, 2006
Angle of Repose, 2004
Continuum I, 2004
Earth Worship, 2008
Reflection, 2006
Through the Looking Glass, 2008
Sum of the Parts, 2007
Time Machine, 2004
Medium or Message, 2007
Music Theory, 2004
Invention, 2006
Flux, 2004
Hand of Man, 2006
Hope, 2004
In Motion ... At Rest, 2005
Work, 2004
The Black Box, 2005
Design, 2003
"All Watched Over ...", 2005
The Great Mormon, 2004
Neon, 2004
The Gravity of Mars, 2005
"Is That All That There Is?", 2008