Monday, October 7, 2013

Edward Burtynsky, Water @ Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery

The show is made up of aerial shots of colored water with the occasional shots of large crowds of Indian people. My guess from looking at the pictures is that there are a lot of people in India, and the water there is polluted. Might be something more subtle and complex going on, but subtlety and complexity are not what Burtynsky’s pictures traffic in. What we get are large, lifeless pictures that magically suck the excitement out of the most amazing and fascinating situations. It’s like listening to a monotone reading of an interesting New Yorker article. On the upside, there is a pretty decent picture of the after-effects of a body being cremated on the banks of the Ganges in Varanasi as seen from the river, where for once Burtynsky’s large negative and larger print pulls out a bunch of little narratives.

PS The press release doesn’t give much more away than that the aerial pictures are from all over and are about how our consumption of water is reshaping the earth. But that fact is indecipherable from the pictures, and their general blandness is a huge blindside in Burtynsky’s art.

Through Nov. 2nd


Colin Corneau said...

I can't quite believe you actually said "...subtlety and complexity are not what Burtynsky’s pictures traffic in..."

Nope. Checked again...that's actually what you wrote. After seeing this latest collection and, I can only hope, his previous works, too. Unbelievable.

Carl Gunhouse said...

Yup and I stand by it, I feel he communicates very little visually besides that he is using a very large negative. I have a hard time bridging the causes he supports with the dry formal pictures he creates.

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