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In Castellani’s ‘High Strangeness,’ viewers get up close and personal

It’s difficult to take a passing glance at Gary Sczerbaniewicz’s art.

In order to see his sculptures and installations at all, the artist often leaves you no other option but to fully immerse yourself in them, the way you might immerse yourself in a roller-coaster ride or a trip to France.

Seven of Sczerbaniewicz’s immersive experiences, each one different in tone and mood, go on view Sunday in the Castellani Art Museum in a new solo exhibition, “High Strangeness.” The show’s architectural vignettes are viewable through a series of periscopes, which demand that viewers get up close and personal with each piece.

“The viewer is invited to glimpse the interior scenes – which are slightly distorted by glass lenses set within the visor – indicative that what they are viewing is not exactly truthful in its display, but contains a mixture of truth and distortion,” Sczerbaniewicz wrote in a statement. “There is also a necessity that the viewer cannot see what is revealed unless they are physically close to the peering site.”

The show, he continued, emerged from his long-standing interest in the idea that humans can protect themselves against the great outside by hiding inside simple structures like fallout shelters, bunkers and confessional booths.

The show opens with a reception from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday and runs through May 3. Call 286-8200 or visit castellaniartmuseum.org.

– Colin Dabkowski

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