Teachers Words & Critics Views

Upon receipt of my first grant from the RI State Council on the Arts- 1975, Ralph Hattersly in choosing my portfolio as the finalist wrote, “Stephen, I can’t believe these pictures, they’re utterly ridiculous and I love them….You are a fucking idiot!”


Harry Callahan, my teacher at RISD upon considering me for the graduate program in 1974, “ I think you’d do better at the Visual Studies Workshop…they can deal with heady people like you who like to talk too much….you know you’re a god-damn blabbermouth..”


Harry Callahan upon selecting my work for an NEA fellowship in 1978…. “I like what you’re doing…It’s like this fashion thing you have going….”


Ciprianna Scelba, Director of the Fulbright Program in Rome, upon my request to abandon my documentary project in Orvieto and return to Rome to work in 1977,   “We just want you to be happy….”


Galway Kinnell, upon consideration of my angels and a collaboration wrote in 1982,

“I like your angels, but they’re not for me….”


Robert Bly, in 1990 after taking five years to decide to work together on the Angels of Pompeii,…..” I like these angels….I’m ready….. let’s do it…..”


Malcolm Grear, in preparing me for the press run of Angels of Pompeii in 1991…. “Don’t try to match the book to your prints, let the press show you what else is possible, it’s another way….”


Aaron Siskind, around 1975 in the company of two people of shared Jewish heritage turned to me and said, “ You know you’re a goy…..”


Aaron Siskind, in reviewing my graduate thesis, Women & Rope in 1976,

“Can’t you come up with a better title than that!”….

Minor White, in giving me a critique of my John Brown House series in 1976,..

……”Interesting but quite cynical… I don’t think I can penetrate them…they’re too cynical….”


Lisette Model, after looking at my photographs in 1975, with a saddened and sympathetic expression…..“I don’t believe these photographs…you know you are out of place….you have I believe, a 19th century nervous system…”


Ellen Edwards, The Washington Post in 1980 writes…..”Brigidi’s nudes show no coyness, but rather an unblinking candor…the viewer is accepted, if not welcomed, with openness

Edward Sozanski, critic in reviewing the solo Bristol Art Museum show in 1982…”Brigidi is an artist who masters form has only won half the battle…..unless he imbues that form with emotive power, he will have created little more than a permutation of Jayne Mansfield….”


Sandi Fellman writing in Views in 1986, …”Brigidi’s Hawaiian landscapes are fantastic in color and disturbing in form….he enhances the suspense created by the tenuous arrangement…. amplifying the gentle disquiet….”


Bill Van Sicklen, Providence Journal critic wrote in 1986 about the Hawaiian work….”Brigidi’s landscapes are about inner states as much as they are about outer realities….”


Marcia Morse, Honolulu Star Bulletin, writes in 1984…” Brigidi’s portrait work continues to possess a visual tautness, suggesting that we need no more mask that our own skin-stretched over flesh and bone- to keep the human enigma intact…..”


Mary McCoy in writing about the Angels of Pompeii exhibit in the Washington Post in 1992…..”Photographer Brigidi and poet Bly have created a fertile realm, where images and words invite reflection on the coming of the new year…..”


Richard Tsao, in the New York Times writes in 1993….”Stephan Brigidi’s color image of an angel painted on a wall as a small print is like a fairy tale…”


Joe Fuoco, The Echo in 1992……” Brigidi’s Angels speak of a bonding, that connective tissue of familiarity, of some occult rapprochement that is perhaps inexplicable, but that is also contagious…..for anyone of the “blood” who examines these photographs feels also a kinship with an earlier blood, a relativity with one’s heritage…bonding with Pompeii thus becomes a natural experience…”


Robert Doty writes in Art New England in 1984….”Stephan Brigidi’s photographs provoke questions, doubts, anxieties…they present tension and conflict between desire and fulfillment…these are images about the emotions that transform ordinary lives, and that is what great art is all about….”


Mario Giacomelli said to me in 1980….”Tu sei proprio Italiano…….Facciamo una mostra insieme…..” (You are a true Italian…let’s make a show together…”- Honolulu Academy of Arts, Oct. 1984


Manuel Alvarez Bravo in 1993 (in our two person show at the Witkin Gallery as translated to me)…..”I like these gentle images (the angels)…I am pleased to show with you…”


Carl Chiarenza in showing with me at the Witkin Gallery in 1996 about my Carnevale series…Big, bold and beautiful……”


Ivan Karp, long time owner of OK Harris Gallery in Soho, upon reviewing my Letters From Hana portfolio of slides in 1987 remarked……” This is competent work, very competent…I could sell it …all of it ,,,,but you know, it’s all paper and it wouldn’t even pay my light bill….Bring me canvas or steel….I need canvas or steel…..”

 Harry Callahan, Ralph Hattersly, Galway Kinnell, Robert Why, Aaron Siskind, Minor White, Lisette Model, Mario Giacomelli, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Carl Chiarenza, Ivan Karp

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