Edward Burtynsky explores human incursions into nature in 34 works donated to the Vancouver Art Gallery

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One of Canada’s premier landscape photographers has donated 34 works to the Vancouver Art Gallery’s permanent collection.

According to a February 18 media release, the images captured by Edward Burtynsky will bring the total number of his photographs in the VAG’s possession to 44. The collection is scheduled to go on display on March 1 in an exhibit titled A Terrible Beauty: Edward Burtynsk.

“We would like to express our gratitude to Edward Burtynsky for this significant body of work,” said VAG gallery director Kathleen Bartels quoted in the release. “This extraordinary addition not only greatly expands the range of Burtynsky’s oeuvre in the Gallery’s collection, but also builds further depth to the Gallery’s already significant photo-based collection of works by leading contemporary artists.”

Burtynsky works in large-format colour photography and mainly focuses on the impact of human incursions into natural landscapes. In the past, he has documented the oil industry, ship breaking, China’s Three Gorges Dam, and marble quarries. More recently, his directorial film debut Watermark received the Toronto Film Critics Association’s prize for 2014 Best Canadian Documentary Film.

The photographs donated were captured between 1983 and 2013. They are separated into eight series, with those collections including "Oil, Fields, Mines and Tailings", and another exploring roads and railroad tracks traversing British Columbia.

Burtynsky was awarded the Order of Canada in 2006, and in 2005 was one of the inaugural recipients of the TED Prize.

A Terrible Beauty: Edward Burtynsk will run at the Vancouver Art Gallery from March 1 to May 26, 2014.

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