This is a past event.

Edward Burtynsky: The Industrial Sublime 

When: May 25-Oct. 3 2012
Price: $7-10
Canadian artist Edward Burtynsky brings the aesthetics of a landscape photographer to his documentation of the most massive industrial projects on the planet. Where Ansel Adams would shoot a mountain in Yosemite, Burtynsky has photographed open pit coalmines in British Columbia. However, there is more to compare than contrast between such disparate seeming artists: Both men can be described as dedicated environmentalists concerned with capturing the majestic beauty of their subjects — it’s really only context that makes Burtynsky’s work seem so much different. In an age of fossil fuel depletion coupled with rising CO2 levels and a high-tech economy’s increased demand for metals, a responsible artist can no longer connect his images to a love of the land by simply evoking romantic ideals. The great strength of Burtynsky’s work is its ambiguity —poisoned places are gorgeously rendered and industrial spaces are poetically framed as icons of industrial ambition, but also as testaments to humanity’s blind greed. And — like all the best contemporary art addressing environmental concerns — Burtynsky’s photographs put me in mind of those maddening Love and Rockets’ lyrics that refuse to classify the impact of humankind as something outside of the organic functioning of the world: “You cannot go against nature / Because when you do / Go against nature / It’s part of nature too.”
— Joe Nolan


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