Prints of darkness

Mari Otto

The work of Anthony Viscardi

It may seem like the art world has seen it all, from cubes to dots, from lily ponds to political propaganda. But here is an artist whose work pushes boundaries and also merges the fields of architecture and art into a single form.

Anthony Viscardi, who had been an artist in residence here at Lafayette, spoke of his artwork last Monday afternoon and current exhibition installed in Williams Center Gallery. His exhibition is titled “Prints of Darkness: Shadow Cast Impressions,” a clever reference to the muse behind his work: shadows.

As a real-life Peter Pan of the artistic realm, Viscardi discussed the theory behind his art.

“Shadows have always been curious to me because they come from an object but then they belong to some other surface, taking the shape of the surface they fall on,” Viscardi said.

His career as a practicing architect and professor of architecture led him to pursue his fascination of shadows through incredibly complex and interesting work. Viscardi calls his technique “shadow casting”—essentially the process of tracing the shadows of intricate models at various times and shifting the structures to create architectural designs of modern beauty.

Viscardi emphasized that “the way spaces feel, the way you feel about a place and its environment” in both his art and his architecture. He believes that architecture and its environment to be complements of one another, a conviction evident in the fluidity and connectedness of his work.

“We don’t just make buildings and set them on a plate, they always come with history of the site, and I think architecture should engage the sight, and not just land on it,” Viscardi said.

By playing with and manipulating shadows, Viscardi strived to create a feeling of “specific ambiguity” within his viewers, allowing them to identify the form of the model from which the shadow is traced while simultaneously constructing an imaginary type of architecture. Using ink, or at times watercolor, Viscardi is able to create pleasingly geometrical daydreams of an alternative universe of architectural forms.

His artwork will be exhibited in the Williams Center Gallery until Feb. 22.