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Edward Burtynsky, Glacial Runoff #1, Skeidararsandur, Iceland, 2012, C-print, 48 x 64". Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery.

Edward Burtynsky

Howard Greenberg Gallery/Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery

Edward Burtynsky, Glacial Runoff #1, Skeidararsandur, Iceland, 2012, C-print, 48 x 64". Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery.

Water is never only water. Absorbed, even vanishing into what collapses without it—forest, field, ecosystem—water can seem subordinate. The scope, scale, and deceptive, disturbing beauty of our fate are both visible and to be sought in the very large color photographs by Edward Burtynsky that were shown at Howard Greenberg Gallery and Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery this past fall. Each offered a selection from “WATER,” a sweeping, five-year, ten-country project designed partly to show the impact of “human systems” on this natural resource, the various efforts to “harness it, shape it and control it.”

From above, extending away from us, long, low-lying polders give to a transverse row of minute houses an abstract and curious positioning. Miles of aquaculture buoys in Fujian Province form curved necklaces, then straight, code-like lines. Miles of tilted, armor-like planes ominously

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