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2006 12 04
Ed Burtynsky: World Changing
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Nickel Tailings No. 31,
Sudbury, Ontario 1996


Yesterday's Toronto Star had a good story on Toronto artist Ed Burtynsky. It seems that many are worried Burtynsky's work will become single-issue posters for environmental issues. While the Liberal's new leader, Stephane Dion, might say that's a good thing, it is unlikely that history will come to the same conclusion about the photographs. Burtynsky's long history of documentation has more to do with the process and effects of massive-scale human activities than they do with the specific environmental impact of those actions. I've always thought that his works come from the conceptualist's tradition which allows him to turns his vision to a host of related topics but maintain an overarching coherence to the work. In his own words:
"It's one of the dangers I've always felt as an artist. I've never wanted to do work that boiled down to a singular meaning — `Oh, now we understand exactly where it is, we can put it in this little category — this is work that is pro-environment,'" Burtynsky says.
[email this story] Posted by R Ouellette on 12/04 at 09:30 AM

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