Posts Tagged ‘John Nash’

Photography | Burtynsky’s Pivot Irrigation

Friday, October 12th, 2012

Edward Burtynsky
Pivot Irrigation
New Release of Photographs
from
Howard Greenberg Gallery
& Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery

Mines, Railcuts, Homesteads, Quarries, Urban Mines, Ships, Oil, Water – the headings listed under Works on Edward Burtynsky’s homepage – might easily represent the interests of utilities investment companies, but Burtynsky’s preoccupations are far removed from theirs. As a photographer he seeks out the often remote source of the materials on which our modern lifestyle depends; he records them, uncompromisingly, then presents us with his disarmingly simple and remarkably beautiful images, meant, he explains, as metaphors to the dilemma of our existence.

British First World War artist John Nash’s paintings, and lithographs – of which Burtynsky’s photographs are oddly reminiscent – of battered landscapes of mud, vast craters and broken trees possess similar, opposing powers of allure and offence. But while Nash’s images rail against the futile destruction wrought by peoples upon one another, Burtynsky is a green warrior whose rancour is a consequence of humanity’s crimes against nature. The vast dumps of burning tyres, the great mountains quarried almost out of existence, the recycling yards, are laid out before us so that we can reflect upon them and the uneasy contradiction they represent.

For the Pivot Irrigation series, Canadian, Edward Burtynsky, travelled to the Texas Panhandle, where large-scale, pivot crop irrigation or centre-pivot irrigation is common. Equipment rotates around a pivot and crops are watered with sprinklers, producing circular patterns when the fields are viewed from an ariel perspective. The farmlands in the region rely on the Ogallala Aquifer, a large body of underground water beneath the Great Plains – once, nine times greater in capacity than Lake Erie – as a water source. It is a non-renewable resource, rapidly being depleted. In images that resemble primitive art – Peru’s Plain of Nazca – examples of decorative marquetry, or formal abstraction, these new Burtynsky photographs, reveal astonishingly graphic industrial mark-making on a gigantic scale.


Images from top

Pivot Irrigation #10
High Plains, Texas Panhandle, USA , 2011

Pivot Irrigation #11
High Plains, Texas Panhandle, USA , 2011

Pivot Irrigation #13
High Plains, Texas Panhandle, USA , 2011

Pivot Irrigation #22
High Plains, Texas Panhandle, USA , 2011

Photographs © Edward Burtynsky, courtesy Nicholas Metivier, Toronto/Howard Greenberg & Bryce Wolkowitz, New York

Works from the series will be on view at the following art fairs
Paris Photo, 15th-18th November, 2012
Art Basel Miami Beach, 6th-9th December, 2012
PULSE Miami, 6th-9th December, 2012

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