Published by Safe-T-Gallery Inc.
Don Burmeister: Owner/Editor
Barbara Confino: Associate Editor
Unlike the concurrent exhibition at the Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery which concentrates on Edward Burtynsky’s recent (2010) aerial photographs of Northeastern Spain (Dryland Farming), the show at the Howard Greenberg Gallery offers the viewer a taste of various series produced from 1999 to the present, revolving around manufactured landscapes.
Nature has been subdued by industry in these photographs (as are the humans who sometimes appear). But instead of being repulsed, the viewer is drawn into the images by their color and detail, enhanced with a strong sense of formal design. Even in subjects (mine tailings and piles of tires) that are chaotic by their nature, there is a great deal of symmetry in many images. And despite the devastation we know they cause, aerial images of oil spills hold an organic fascination. (I suspect that some of the images on display may have been chosen for their symmetry as other photos I have seen from these series are not as balanced.)
In the side room of the gallery are a set of 20 x 24 inch enlargements of Polaroid proofs shot while working in Bangladesh on the Pentimento portfolio, a series about shipbreaking. As test shots these images are rougher, showing the damage to the soft emulsion of the original Polaroid negs, the grim environment and dwarfed workers calling to mind early 19th century industrial photographs.
[For an earlier view of the industrial landscape, check out the back space of the gallery where eight of Margaret Bourke-White’s photos from the 1930’s are on display.]