When Edward Burtynsky’s Water Exhibition came to the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM), I knew I had to see his work. Last year my professor introduced us to his Tailings Project during Intro. Photography. It was through his Tailings Project that I began to think about the environment and the legacy we are leaving behind for our next generation, for Piano Man and Linus and their children.
(Source: Edward Burtynsky’s website)
Burtynsky is well known for his landscape photography with a slant towards understanding the environment – what we are doing to it and how it’s changed over time. Here is a portion taken from his artist statement:
These images are meant as metaphors to the dilemma of our modern existence; they search for a dialogue between attraction and repulsion, seduction and fear. We are drawn by desire – a chance at good living, yet we are consciously or unconsciously aware that the world is suffering for our success. Our dependence on nature to provide the materials for our consumption and our concern for the health of our planet sets us into an uneasy contradiction. For me, these images function as reflecting pools of our times.
His Water Exhibition at the GRAM is a continuation of his lifelong work in studying the environment using photography as an art form. And now, to have seen his work in person, I have come to a deeper appreciation of his work. If you don’t believe, just take a look at the images below to see the scale of his images.
You can end your time by writing your experience or thoughts on a sticky note and watch a video of his talk. And if you want to see his work for free, go on Tuesdays (when it’s free) or Thursday evenings. You’ll be glad that you did.
From my hometown to yours,