Anthony Cervino, a sculptor and assistant professor of art at Dickinson College, engages in a discussion of aging and changing identity in his work. Editions of You is a collection of sculpture that does not take itself too seriously but still reflects on serious matters.
In Rice Gallery, eight assemblages made up of found objects and constructed materials scatter the floor and one wall. All eight assemblages are mounted on unpainted wood structures that function as both a foundation and part of the artwork. The size of the sculptures and bases ranges from several inches to several feet tall. By restricting the assemblages to no more than three objects per piece, Cervino sharpens his artistic statements into bold bursts of meaning.
Many of the pieces juxtapose dark, bulky components with lighter materials painted in bright, playful colors. This contrast coaxes the viewer to draw a connection between an object and its surroundings. In a statement Cervino wrote for this exhibition he informs the viewer that, “[objects] are placed in staged environments that hint at the complex relationship among identity, place and time.” In a piece entitled Tons of Fun, a painted wooden duck juts out of an amorphous chunk of concrete. The duck, which resembles a child’s toy, appears to be weighed down by the concrete that simultaneously supports and shackles it. The combination of the two elements, duck and concrete, asks the viewer: what relationship exists between these two objects and the concepts they represent?
Shadow is used in several of the pieces. All’s Well That Starts Well (and Moves with the Sun) and Awning Study incorporate shadow as if it were a tangible piece of the assemblage. The use of shadow invokes a sense of passing time in the two pieces that reminds the viewer that all things age, even works of art, even you. By creating time in his artificial world, Cervino brings his minimalist assemblages to life.
Although Cervino’s pieces have an air of playfulness and childlike simplicity, there is an undertone of inevitability and immovability. The large, black steel machine in All’s Well That Starts Well (and Moves with the Sun) and the boat dock cleat in Home At Last look solid, sturdy, and unyielding. These objects, like time and the process of aging, cannot be changed and will always be. The presence of such objects in the pieces grounds the viewer, preventing her or him from floating away on a current of color and humor.
Editions of You speaks upon Cervino’s own life, as noted in the artist’s statement, but also the life of the viewer. The themes explored in this exhibition are universal and sobering to contemplate, but Cervino manages to execute the manifestation of these themes with a youthful, almost whimsical air.
Editions of You is located on the top floor of Peterson Hall in the Rice Gallery. The exhibition runs until September 23.