To look at Anthony Scibilia’s photographs, one cannot help but think of northern Renaissance paintings of church interiors employing the newly discovered technique of two-point perspective. While the Renaissance artists were interested in the volume of interior space and the details of the architecture, Anthony instead often focuses on the effects of light on blank walls, whether the subtle color shifts of a wall in the shade, or the dance of shadows and reflection caused by sunlight skirting through a nearby window. While little has changed inside these churches since Gerard Houckgeest painted View through an Archade in 1638, the world outside these churches has changed dramatically—colonialism, major wars and genocides, manned space travel to the moon, DNA sequencing, and smart phones just to name a few. Maybe it is this implied disconnect that makes these images so compelling and beautiful.
Anthony first came to photography in 1992 as an art history student at Cornell University where he began to document his explorations of the acoustics of Romanesque and Gothic church spaces in France. Since that time, he has earned two advanced degrees in Art History from Columbia University, and produced more than 12,000 images of art and architecture in Europe and the United States. Anthony currently lives in Boston where he is an Assistant Professor at the Berklee College of Music and teaches courses in art history, philosophy, and history, as well as musical performance, composition, and improvisation. Anthony has also taught drawing, photography, and architectural design at many colleges in the United States and abroad, including Columbia University, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), and the École Nationale Superieure d’architecture in Versailles, France.
The images featured here are drawn from my most recent body of work, titled States of Consciousness (Amsterdam). “Amsterdam” appears in the title of this series, but only as a pointer, a parenthetical indicator. Where all of the images were shot is perhaps significant, and not without interest; but here, specific locations are not necessarily of the first importance. Instead, I want to invite the viewer to experience these photographs in an imaginative and intuitive way. In order to keep the encounter open, I avoid descriptive titles. In this way, I wish to suggest that the “states” to which these photographs refer are perhaps ultimately a function of what each viewer brings to them, and of my own process of stopping and giving myself over to what was in front of me on a certain day, at a certain time, in a certain place. Whenever I ask myself what these pictures are “about,” I eventually arrive at the basic idea that they are various ways of looking onto the world, ways of seeing things; they are dimensional, finite openings onto a space that is vast, unbounded, and for me, infinite.