Vignette CorridorVignette Corridor (Detail)Vignette End SceneGabled Hall 'La-Bas' Chamber Detail'La-Bas--Anteroom'StripCrawlQ&A:Exteriorthe Great Fear-Chair Causewaythe Great Fear-Book RmCrawl Maquette
Gary Sczerbaniewicz

Artist Statement

I construct multimedia, architecturally based environments and installations; many of which contain performance and involve audience interaction. I view these constructs as metaphors for internal, psychological processes, compartments, or states. For example, in a piece entitled ‘Q&A’ I explored the process of being overwhelmed by creative indecision and the subsequent transformation of that state into action.

A former Roman Catholic, I grew up intrigued by spaces specifically designed for the playing out of various rituals-such as the confessional booth. I infuse this sense of ritual in many of my works. In a recent installation entitled ‘Vignette’ viewers were compelled to pass through a twenty-five foot long tunnel while crouching in order to glimpse a view of a performance which took place behind a veil. The five foot high tunnel imposed a hierarchical relationship between the viewer and the physical space, while the length allowed for a ‘grand’ perspective view, and development of a sense of expectation and revelation in what occurred at the end.

My years of working in the architectural field as a drafter, designer, and model builder have greatly informed my sense of graphic marking system, and general approach to conceiving and building environments.

I employ architectural references to forgotten or overlooked spaces such as closets, attics, basements, crawlspaces, tunnels, etc., and various marginal forms of architecture such as 19th C mineshafts, fallout shelters, catacombs, etc. I often reference the effect that these compressed and insular zones have on our psyche, whether real or imagined. I am also conscious of the sense of the sublime that occurs when visually processing a dense vista, a long tunnel, a field of multiplied similar forms. As a result, I find rich inspiration in the conception of spaces designed to evoke these feelings. In a work entitled ‘the Great Fear’ I used the underside of a vertically extended chair as entrance to the piece. Viewers crawled under the chair & into a long four foot high tunnel which resembled the imagined and distorted inside body of the chair.

I emphasize a sense of symbol, metaphor, historical, and/or contemporary associations in my selection of materials as building components. Some examples of these are my use of bedsprings, book pages, white foam sheets as wall systems, breadcrumbs & soap as floor-beds, or fly strips as a ceiling grid.

As we pass through our harried workaday lives, I believe that something crucial awaits us in the solitary quietude of these zones: a lost connection, a forgotten dust-covered letter, a message from our former selves, an ominous visage. I long to trigger in my viewers, some distant sense of emotional familiarity, dream memory, historic association, or even night terror in the experiencing of my work.