Looking inward and outward

By GREG COOK  |  October 30, 2013

At RISD in the ’70s, Brigidi studied with Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind and you can feel their influence in the classic modernist approaches in many of his urban pictures here. City Study #169 captures the grandeur of Providence’s now demolished concrete Atlantic Coal Company storage silos. Brigidi’s at his best here when looking at architecture like the prow of a building wedged into a Vancouver street or focusing up-close on telephone poles barnacled with years of posters and staples, creating found abstractions in the mode of Siskind.

But in a bit more than half the work, you might suspect his interest is wavering — as in a desultory photo of a couch abandoned along the water in East Providence with the long-stuck-up Seekonk River drawbridge in the background. Perhaps it isn’t colorful enough, picturesque enough, or romantic enough for his taste.

He seems to find a middle ground between the gritty American city and a desire for enchantment in City Study #66. It depicts a water tower isolated against the sky for pure, studious Modernist attention to its shape. But Brigidi makes the rugged structure appear dreamy — as if it were constructed of smoke and soot and shadow.

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