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Evan D'Arpino’s photographs explore themes of scientific discovery and the human condition in several distinct bodies of work. The connecting thread in each series is an emphsis on composition, texture, and form, as well as evocative lighting and an ambiguous sense of scale. D'Arpino’s work reveals the mystery and power associated with certain symbols, objects, and structures. The dichotomies of dark/light, hard/soft, square/round, and living/non-living form a narrative about origins, authority, systems, and processes that make up the human and natural worlds. Within this framework, the images he creates are intentionally cryptic and allow the viewer to draw his or her own conclusions.
D'Arpino’s most recent series, Abiogenesis, explores the boundary between living and nonliving things, and asks us to reconsider how we choose to define life. Inspired by the possible cellular origin of recently discovered “giant viruses,” he photographs crystal specimens in a way that enhances their lifelike qualities. In the series Nucleation, D'Arpino focus on humanity’s attraction to nature and nature-based design through photographic studies of fine mineral specimens. Nucleation pays homage to nature’s role in manmade design, while exploring the catalysts that spark both human and organic creation.
Other works in the exhibition are inspired by human creation and destiny. D’Arpino’s series Ekphrasis transforms scenes from The Iliad by depicting the symbols and metaphors Homer uses throughout the poem. Through this process the story's narrative becomes abstracted, while themes such as fate are embodied in enigmatic vignettes. Brutalist Acropolis is a series of photographs of the Empire State Plaza in Albany, NY. D'Arpino grew up in Albany and was inspired by the site’s architecture. However, the land on which it was built was claimed through eminent domain, displacing roughly 7,000 mostly minority residents. Brutalist Acropolis honors D’Arpino’s artisan history (his grandfather’s marble company was involved in the construction) - but more importantly it serves as a reminder of America’s history of gentrification and those whose fate is determined by forces beyond their control.