Edward Burtynsky, renowned for his sublime images investigating natural landscapes transformed by human interference, is currently the subject of an exhibition at Von Lintel Gallery in Los Angeles. The subjects in Industrial Abstract—international copper, gold, salt mining and lumber operations—are translated into large-scale, sweeping aerials of otherworldly geometries and intoxicating swathes of color.
A camera strapped to a drone, or with the artist in a helicopter or plane records extraordinary levels of visual information. Personal details like a truck or boat morph into startling reference points within each colossal view. These compositions are contemplated and deliberate; describing the cumulative impact of industrialization with a sense of beauty and consciousness.
Featured in this exhibition are recent works, including an image of saw mills in Lagos, Nigeria from Burtynsky’s forthcoming project —Anthropocene, the term scientists feel reflects the geological epoch in which human activity is the dominate planetary influence. Burtynsky’s lens provides a perspective few are privy to experience, and with it the opportunity to contemplate and wonder.
“Open-pit mines are wounds we’ve inflicted, and the wonderment they excite easily becomes tinged with pangs of remorse or dread,” writes New York Times reporter Jon Mooallem. “Burtynsky calls that storm of feeling a reversal of the sublime. In the beginning, “the sublime” meant us in fear of nature, he explains. We would look up at a thundercloud or mountain, or across a heavy sea, and be ‘awe-struck or powerless. But fast forward to the Industrial Revolution, and 150 years after that, and now we are the awesome and fearsome force that’s reshaping the planet.”
Edward Burtynsky, Industrial Abstract
March 11 – April 22, 2017
Von Lintel Gallery
2685 S La Cienega Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90034