The opening was attended by the artist, private collectors of his works and supporters of the local arts community. “The exhibition promised to be the definitive photographic statement of our times on this much debated subject”, said exhibition curator Paul Roth. Featuring new, never-before exhibited photographs, Oil proved that this ever evolving issue hasn’t stood still since Burtynsky began working on the series over a decade ago. Roth continues by stating, “The works take an unprecedented look at a subject that affects all of our lives”. A majority of the images left unedited from the moment they were taken giving the art an almost documentary style. This further pushes the reason why these pictures were taken- to record a moment in time and, a moment in our history. Burtynsky commented how he works with the concept of “making of the invisible thing [oil], visible”.
The decision of the Corcoran to host this exhibition at this time is highly relevant given how important the issues highlighted in the works are in today’s society. As Paul Greenhalgh, Corcoran Director commented the gallery has a commitment to showcasing “powerful and thought-provoking” exhibitions, and the decision to host Oil has come at a poignant time. Sitting in a major political pocket- the gallery’s location at 500 17th Street, adjacent to the White House- places emphasis on just how important the topic of oil really is. ‘Is it [oil] controlling us, or are we controlling it?’ A big question posed by Burtynsky, one that maybe you should decide the answer for yourself by taking a visit to the Corcoran Gallery of Art before 13th December 2009.
‘Edward Burtynsky: Oil’ October 3rd until December 13th 2009. Corcoran Gallery of Art, 500 17th Street, N.W, Washington D.C, 20006. www.corcoran.edu.
‘Edward Burtynsky and the Industrial Sublime’ , Burtynsky himself returns to the Corcoran Gallery of Art for an evening lecture on Wednesday November 11th at 7 p.m. Members $15; Public $20