Fine Arts

Art Seen: Master Photographer Alan Metnick at Studio Z — ROADNOTES  “Following Jesus Crossing the Hudson Through Nothing Left to Treblinka”

art1Alan Metnick is a great photographer. There, I’ve said it. And if you doubt that statement even a little bit, I invite you to race out of your head space, kick off your zombie-brain and head down to Studio Z in the Eagle Square part of Historic Providence and go get yourself enlightened. See what real photography, taken by someone in the know, should look like.

There is nothing safe in the styles that Metnick passes through and this cross-genre approach is something I admire greatly when it’s done well. Metnick knows what; Metnick knows how; Metnick knows photography.  The zone system, the grasp of composition, the man and machine, the elusive shadow, the creative blur, anticipated moment, pre-cognitive intuitive and absolutely superlative instinct of how to take a really terrific image. But most of all, the master, archival silver gelatin print, that sings like a hummingbird, and stings like a bee. Alan Metnick is a great photographer because he is a master photographer in the true sense of the word. He knows his medium and works it well. His exhibition, ROADNOTES “Following Jesus Crossing the Hudson Through Nothing left to Treblinka,” hangs until Dec 13 with an artist talk on Saturday, Dec 6 from 2 – 4pm.

There’s a taste of formalism, modernism, candid-street photography, the sublime, the oblique, the ambiguous, the misunderstood, the magic and crazy moment and much more. This is a full palette of multiple viewpoints. And why not? It marks more than 40 years of an artist twisting and churning and convulsing into being.


“Ya never know what the road will deliver. Snarling dogs at synagogue doors, women with flowers, Pompeii penises, a graffiti face or two, jacked cars, a pimped-out Citroen, cannons here, cannon balls there, pyramid bomb shelters, and so it goes, and so do I,” says Metnick of on-location road work.

As the show is billed, this third solo exhibit by Studio Z/Gallery Z for Alan Metnick, prolific in various mediums, showcases new photographic works in black & white and sepia tones — sleek, crisp and poignant — drawing the viewer’s imagination in to interpret the messages behind the images.

art2This Providence-based artist was born in Chicago in 1941 and has been at it for four decades. He earned a BS in Wisconsin at Madison in ‘63 and an MFA in photography from the RISD in ‘73. He has taught photography and silk screening at numerous colleges throughout New England. His works have been shown in galleries, with numerous solo shows, including the Newport Art Museum, RISD, ICA/Boston, and in Poland. His works are in many collections throughout the US, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art/New York, Library of Congress, Los Angeles County Museum of Art/ Los Angeles, Museum of Fine Arts/ Houston, Art Institute of Boston, High Museum of Art/Atlanta, and the Armenian Library Museum of America/Watertown, Mass. He also works in other media such as serigraphy, stained glass, painting and drawing.

Metnick is impressively endowed in the arts and if you are a photophile, you must see this exhibition. And if you haven’t made the trek to the new Studio Z location, well then, shame on you. This show should certainly jingle your bells.

Gallery Z is a member of Gallery Night Providence. Visit their website at

Alan Metnick “ROADNOTES: Following Jesus Crossing the Hudson Through Nothing left to Treblinka,” Studio Z, 25 Eagle Street, Butcher Block Mill, Providence. Thru Dec 13; Artist Talk on Sat, Dec 6, 2 – 4pm