Exhibition of Edward Burtynsky photographs


Society's imprint on the natural world has been a consistent theme in Ed Burtynsky's art. Whether mine tailings, quarries, tire piles or the most recent oil refinery images, his large-scale, chromogenic photographs possess an awesome, overwhelming and majestic beauty that we might expect to be, but in no way are, contradictory with the subject. An unrestrained curtain of information initially prevails.
However, the closer and more careful the observation by the viewer, the richer and more surprising the content becomes as information emerges from the initially perceived pattern.

Burtynsky is concerned to capture space and sound, to acknowledge contemporary experience, and to utilize the attributes of pictorial illusion to render landscapes that are particular to our time. And as tempting as it is to regard his photographs as negative or exclusively critical of society's imprint on or intervention with the natural world, the images possess potentially rich, positive and varied meanings.

Based in Toronto and the creator of Toronto Image Works, a custom photographic facility, Burtynsky's practice as an artist has evolved and been progressively refined over the last two decades. He is widely regarded as one of Canada's leading photographers. Originally from St. Catharines, where he worked on assembly lines in both GM and Ford car plants, Burtynsky has also worked as a hard-rock gold miner.

The exhibition “Edward Burtynsky Photographs” presents 12 photographs, a recent generous donation to the Museum collection by Roger and Brenda Glassco, that summarize essential characteristics and themes from Burtynsky's mature work from the 1990s. From the views of marble quarries in Carrara, Italy to the local “Densified Tin Cans” or “Scrap Auto Engines” piles photographed in 1997 in Hamilton, the exhibition makes clear Burtynsky's method and themes. The exhibition opens May 28 and continues to August 20.

The McMaster Museum of Art is pleased to support the regional, inter-institutional outdoor art project “Zone 6B: Art in the Environment” with the presentation of “Edward Burtynsky Photographs.”

In addition, the Museum will present Michael Allgoewer's sculptures “Island #1” and “Island #2” on the grounds of the McMaster campus from June 21 and throughout the summer.

To complement Edward Burtynsky Photographs, there will be a lunch time talk by Museum staff in the exhibition on Tuesday, June 6 at 12:30 p.m. To acknowledge Roger and Brenda Glassco's significant donation, there will be a public eeception on Thursday, June 15 from 7 to 9 p.m. The artist will be present.