Edward Burtynsky: Oil
This touring exhibition surveys a decade of photographic imagery exploring the subject of oil by artist Edward Burtynsky. The Canadian photographer has traveled internationally to chronicle the production, distribution, and use of this critical fuel. In addition to revealing the rarely-seen mechanics of its manufacture, Burtynksy photographs the effects of oil on our lives, depicting landscapes altered by its extraction from the earth and by the cities and suburban sprawl generated around its use. He also addresses the coming "end of oil," as we confront its rising cost and dwindling availability. This exhibition, which premiered in the capital city of the United States in October 2009, represents a look at one of the most important subjects of our time by one of the most respected and recognized contemporary photographers in the world.
Edward Burtynsky: Oil includes 56 color landscapes made over the last decade, organized around specific themes that—taken together—encompass a kind of modern-day “lifecycle” of the energy source that has shaped the modern world. Burtynsky’s photographs, printed at large scale, render his subjects with transfixing detail. They include scenes of oil fields, refineries, automobiles and other vehicles, high-speed motorway networks, and disposed and recycled materials. The project will feature many new works, most never-before-exhibited.
The catalogue for the exhibition, published by Steidl, includes 100 color plates from Burtynsky’s oil series. It also includes essays by Paul Roth, former senior curator of photography and media arts at the Corcoran Gallery of Art; Michael Mitchell, Canadian writer, photographer, and co-author with Burtynsky of his book Quarries (Steidl, 2007); and William E. Rees, ecological economist, originator of the concept of the ecological footprint, and professor at the University of British Columbia’s School of Community and Regional Planning.
Biography of the Artist
Edward Burtynsky is one of Canada’s most respected photographers. His color photographs of industrially transformed landscapes are in the collections of several major museums around the world, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Biblioteque Nationale in Paris, and the Museum of Modern Art and Guggenheim Museum in New York. Born in 1955 of Ukranian heritage in St. Catharines, Ontario, Burtynsky is a graduate of Ryerson University and Niagara College. His father worked on an automobile production line at a General Motors plant in his hometown; Burtynksy credits this experience as his earliest exposure to the subject of industry, and oil in particular. Burtynsky’s exhibitions include Manufactured Landscapes (2003); Before the Flood (2003); Burtynsky – China (2005); and Edward Burtynsky – Quarries (2006), all of which have traveled extensively to venues in Canada, the United States, Europe, and Asia. Among many other honors, in 2007 Burtynsky was awarded the prestigious title Officer of the Order of Canada.
Traveling Exhibition Details
Corcoran Gallery of Art
October 3 - December 13, 2009
The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery
St. Johns, Newfoundland, Canada
May 7 - August 15, 2010
Art Gallery of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
September 17, 2010 - January 2, 2011
Royal Ontario Museum of Art
April 9, 2011 - August 21, 2011
October 7, 2011 - January 8, 2012
**AVAILABLE SLOT FEBRUARY – MAY 2012
Nevada Museum of Art
June 9 - September 23, 2012
Taubman Museum of Art
October 20, 2012 - January 6, 2013
Edward Burtynsky: Oil is organized by the Corcoran Gallery of Art and made possible with the generous support of the Scotiabank Group.