Edward Burtynsky: Oil

Friday, October 19, 2012 - Sunday, January 6, 2013

Over the last 12 years, acclaimed photographer Edward Burtynsky has traveled across the globe to chronicle the production, distribution, and use of oil. His extensive exploration is organized thematically, surveying a “life cycle” of this critical fuel. First, Burtynsky depicts the extraction of oil from the earth. He photographs cities and suburbs dependent upon its availability, and the subcultures that have formed around people’s obsession with motor vehicles and transportation. Finally, he addresses the coming "end of oil"—revealing the consequences of our energy economy, and the dwindling availability of the substance that drives our civilization.

Edward Burtynsky is one of Canada's most respected photographers. His color photographs of industrially transformed landscapes are in the collections of several major museums around the world. His father worked on an automobile production line at a General Motors plant in his hometown; Burtynsky credits this experience as his earliest exposure to the subject of industry, and oil in particular.

Edward Burtynsky, SOCAR Oil Fields #6, Baku, Azerbaijan, 2006. Chromogenic color print.  Photograph © Edward Burtynksy, courtesy Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronoto/ Howard Greenberg & Bryce Wolkowitz, New York

Edward Burtynsky: Oil is organized by the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., and made possible with the generous support of the Scotiabank Group.