In the wake of the April 10 Gulf of Mexico oil spill brought about by pervasive institutional irresponsibility at BP, many in the outraged art-blog commentariat referenced Edward Burtynsky’s magisterial “Oil” series, for which the photographer spent a decade traveling the globe to document the entire industrial complex behind our poisonous energy addiction. It comes as no surprise that Burtynksy himself was riveted by the Gulf disaster — in fact, IN THE AIR has learned, he traveled down to the site of the spill to photograph the aftermath.
The new series, executed in large-scale digital c-prints, was captured this May and June when Burtynsky boarded a helicopter and took aerial shots of the burning Deepwater Horizon rig where the crisis — the worst marine oil spill in history — originated. An artist whose work has long been driven by deep-seated environmental concerns, Burtynsky will debut the images on September 16 at Toronto’s Nicholas Metivier Gallery. (The photographer will also open a show on September 9 at New York’s Hasted Hunt Kraeutler Gallery, featuring large-scale c-prints derived from Polaroids he took at a Bangladeshi shipbreaking site.)