In the beginning, photography's power and convenience signaled danger for traditional art. Images could be captured so easily compared to ones created by pen and brush. Prints looked so flawless and crisp, even real.

In the beginning, photography's power and convenience signaled danger for traditional art. Images could be captured so easily compared to ones created by pen and brush. Prints looked so flawless and crisp, even real.

As it gained steam in the mid-1800s, photography looked as if it would kill the practice of painting.

It never did.

In fact, the two media have remained the art world's shark and suckerfish - foils rather than foes.

That relationship is explored throughout "Shared Intelligence: American Painting and the Photograph," running through April 24 at the Columbus Museum of Art.

"There's this idea that painting and photography are at war with each other," said Jonathan Weinberg, an author and art historian who helped put together the show. "We wanted to show that these two media are in conversation."

Organized by the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, the exhibition features 75 works that track the compelling relationship between the two media from the 1890s to the present. It's the first new show since the museum's Jan. 1 reopening - and it embodies the mission of telling new stories about art history.

"It's not just borrowing," said Melissa Wolfe, the museum's curator of American art. "Painters do lots of things with photographs."

For many 19th-century artists, photos provided a permanent reference for subjects that changed over time. Famous realist Thomas Eakins traced images projected onto canvas, while Frederic Remington worked prolifically from shots of the American West.

Others, such as Man Ray, began to experiment with both media, pushing each to its limit and cross-pollinating the results.

"We love these moments when a photographer shows himself to be a painter or a painter shows himself to be a photographer," Weinberg explained.

As the fields progressed side by side, painters began to investigate the photographic process - how it distorts as it captures and how it creates meaning for an audience.

Chuck Close tried to mimic it through giant portraits that at times replicated modern methods of color printing. Norman Rockwell exploited its ability to fabricate reality by creating works from piecemeal photo chunks.

Most recently, artists like Barbara Kruger have rebelled against mass media's emptiness and falsehood, impeaching the tendency of an image to be so ubiquitous that it loses meaning.

"We take so many photos that we don't even look at them," Weinberg said. "What these artists do is slow down that process and get us to look at these images."