Jan 24 2016

A Terrible Beauty – Edward Burtynsky in Dialogue with Emily Carr (The Reach Gallery Abbotsford)

Do not miss this!

Edward Burtynsky, Mount Edziza Provincial Park #4, Northern British Columbia, Canada

Running from Jan 21, 2016 to April 10, 2016 at the Reach Gallery in Abbotsford is the traveling exhibition ‘A Terrible Beauty: Edward Burtynsky in Dialogue with Emily Carr’ curated and pulled from the collections of the Vancouver Art Gallery.  There are eighteen large scale photographs from Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky that span multiple series from 1983 to 2012.  There are also six paintings by Emily Carr that speak to similar themes of the human impact on the environment.  In particular Emily Carr’s Loggers’ Culls, 1935 and Above the Gravel Pit, 1937 show our early impact on the British Columbia landscape.  Burtynsky’s work although it begins in British Columbia with Homesteads and Railcuts soon moves on to a more global view with works from series such as Quarries & oil. 

Emily Carr, Loggers’ Culls, 1935 oil on canvas


Emily Carr helped to shape our perceptions of the British Columbia landscape, in particular the coastal forests, however today an artist seeking out those same settings is confronted with something more like what Burtynsky presents to us, a landscape shaped and altered by human activity.

The impact of the Burtynsky photographs are aided by their physical scale.  They are large, with a focus that extends from foreground to background.  With the photographic visual language cue of focus depth removed the viewer is forced to interpret the scale of the scene through its content.  This can be somewhat jarring as you come to terms with thousands of burning tires in ‘Burning Tire Pile #1 Near Stockton California’ or uncounted circuit boards filling the landscape ‘China Recycling #9, Circuit Boards, Guiy, Guangdong Provice, China 2004’ or the more flattened scenery of  recent works from the series ‘Water’ . 

I could continue to try to write about this but my efforts would always fall short of standing in front of these works in person. The Reach Gallery Museum in Abbotsford has free admission and seeing this exhibition is well worth the trip for anyone located in the Fraser Valley and beyond.

Amusingly I visited on a day where they were hosting a Family Literacy day celebration which filled the gallery with activity and the cacophony of tiny voices.  Your visit is likely to be much quieter.

Apr 9 2011

Bradner Flower Show 2011 #Abbotsford

I went to the Bradner flower show today and took some pictures.  I thought I would share them sooner that I usually would as it’s still on for one more day.  I took a few other pictures in a field on my way back, the home owner next to the field was kind enough to let me park there.  The hardest part was stopping, I think I could have taken many more images but I would have run the risk of repeating myself.  This is also the same field that I used as a source for an oil painting previously.

Mar 28 2011

8 Months Later

Eight months is not very long but it is enough time for us to modify the land and start building.  I’m not against building places for people to live but I still feel a sense of loss for this little oasis of grass land that was home to owls and coyottes and many things in between.  I don’t know of any other place nearby where wild flowers bloomed like this.

Mar 21 2010

Daffodils in Bradner

I’m often reminded how much fun photography can be, not because of the images but the people I meet.  Yesterday I went up to the Bradner area to try and get some daffodil shots.  This year the flowers have bloomed  early, too early.  There just isn’t the market for them yet and so they are being left in the fields.  There is only so much that can be held in cold storage.  The fields that I wanted to go to were clearly not accessible from the road so I stopped at a local house and asked who’s fields they were and how I might get to them.  And that is when my daffodil growing lessons began.  My guide Rick took my across his property and out to the neighboring fields and explained to me such things as how the bulbs were dug up every two years and sorted, how the fields were rotated and rested.  Did you know it takes seven years to create a new variety.  I spent less time than I normally would taking photo’s, more like taking snap shots as we walked, but it was well worth it.