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Exhibit shows photos and paintings are in the same family

Courtesy of Columbus Art Museum

The Columbus Museum of Art’s newest exhibition explores the historical relationship between photography and painting in “Shared Intelligence.”

“The show looks at the influence of photography on American painters and how painting and the tradition of photography have influenced photographers as well,” said Melissa Wolfe, curator of American art for the Columbus Museum of Art.

Historically, many have seen the two mediums as being in competition with one another, but this exhibition demonstrates otherwise.

“Instead of looking at photography as a sort of challenger to painting, it actually shows that painters really see photography as a fabulous tool for themselves to use,” Wolfe said. “It really shows the rich, fertile discussion between photography and painting.”

“Shared Intelligence” began as an exhibition in the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, N.M.

“A crucial theme of this exhibition is the way in which the two mediums have always intersected and spilled into each other,” according to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum website. “The camera has been used repeatedly to reinvigorate painting, even as photography has been frequently enriched by a dialogue with painting.”

The show is all about the creative interaction between painters and photographers, Wolfe said. She added that there is also a common link in the focus on photo realism in all of the pieces.

Works from “Shared Intelligence,” currently located in the Columbus Museum of Art’s contemporary exhibition space, are set up chronologically.

“It starts with one of the first photographers, Thomas Eakins, and goes all the way through contemporary artists,” Wolfe said.

Caitlin Leow, in art history and theater and member of Ohio State’s History of Art Undergraduate Society, said she enjoyed the exhibition.

“I loved how the exhibit showed the ways artists have been influenced by and have been using photography to advance their craft since its invention in the mid-19th century,” she said.

More than 100 photographs and paintings are featured in the exhibition. Wolfe said many of those pieces highlight artists who were at the intersection of both mediums.

“Georgia O’Keeffe was at the intersection of both photography and painting,” she said. “And with artists like Andy Warhol, one can argue whether his works are photographs or paintings.”

Leow said the exhibition revealed secrets about many of the famous works included in the show that she had never known before seeing it at the Columbus Museum of Art.

“Shared Intelligence” opened on Feb. 4 and will run through April 24 before returning to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, where it is scheduled to be on display from May through September.


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