Andrew Stein Raftery's old mastery technique led to the RISD Museum tapping him to create demonstration projects for "The Brilliant Line," its 2009 exhibit of Renaissance engraving. His cool, mechanical style doesn't match the charismatic linework of masters, but it serves as, um, straight man to the punning homoerotica of his engraving copying Giulio Romano's 16th-century drawing of a naked Hercules resting after slaying the hydra. Hercules seems quite enamored of the knob-ended torch he used to burn the monster.

ART_Avian-Hand-Handler_main
FLIGHT OF FANCY Hong's Avian Hand Handler.
Many important local players are represented (Dan Wood, Pippi Zornoza, Ian Cozzens, Jo Dery, Alec Thibodeau, Mickey Zacchilli), but in a big survey show like this, one inevitably thinks of who got left out (Erin Rosenthal, Leif Goldberg, Jay Zehngebot, Morgan Calderini, Jonathan Bonner, Agata Michalowska, to name some). You might find yourself wanting to do trades: drop Philly woodcutter Serena Perone in favor of Rhode Island artist Meredith Stern's linocut of two cat-people foraging for mushrooms in a forest, which is now on view at Craftland in Providence.

That's part of the fun. But it also shows how this small but wide-ranging survey is just a beginning. And one that could — should — serve as a model for a full-fledged retrospective exhibit of Rhode Island printmaking at, say, the RISD Museum that explores why it has been so vital in the Ocean State.

Read Greg Cook's blog at gregcookland.com/journal.

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