2009: Worth another look

By GREG COOK  |  December 22, 2009

"Focus on Four," at the Newport Art Museum through January 24, offers an outline of the history of Rhode Island photography, with images by Gertrude Käsebier, Lewis Hine, Charlotte Estey, and Aaron Siskind. It provided more evidence that photography may be the Ocean State's greatest contribution to the past century of art.

In "A Fragile Memory" at the Providence Public Library, artist Agata Michalowska dug out century-old glass plate negatives of Rhode Island from the PPL's archives. In the photos, men in straw hats, women in full gowns, and early power plants emerged from the mysterious past as if freshly arrived by time machine.

Bert Gallery's "Documenting a Moment, a Place, an Era" dug into New York photographer O. Winston Link's shots of oil men, fancy ladies, and alligator hunting in 1930s Louisiana. But the highlight was Link's celebrated 1950s shots of the last of the steam trains chugging through the American night.

"The Brilliant Line," at the RISD Museum through January 3, is remarkable for both its beautiful artwork and the clarity with which curator Emily Peters demonstrated the development of the printmaking technique of engraving during the European Renaissance.

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