palo-alto-ca

Edward Burtynsky

Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts, Stanford University

Uncomfortable ironies abound in Canadian artist Edward Burtynsky’s large color photographs of ravaged natural terrain. Burtynsky’s subjects have consistently been landscapes in which the process of industrialization has resulted in spectacles that dwarf the likes of Michael Heizer’s sprawling City, 1970–99. Burtynsky’s work is undeniably gorgeous yet maintains connections to the documentary. It is also invested with a sense of adventure and achievement: The photography of dangerous places tends to necessitate the negotiation of corporate bureaucracy as well as some tricky outdoor navigation. And although his images can read as the creations of a political environmentalist akin to Robert Adams, Burtynsky nonetheless maintains an interest in art-historical sources, including Earthworks, early landscape photography, luminist painting, and even the intensely colored photographs of unpeopled

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