Ontario Museum Institute for Contemporary Culture Opens Edward Burtynsky: Oil

The Ryerson Gallery and Research Centre, the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, and Scotiabank Group present sEdward Burtynsky: Oil at the Institute for Contemporary Culture (ICC) at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), from April 9 through July 3, 2011. Edward Burtynsky: Oil is an examination of one the most important subjects of our time by one of the most respected and recognized contemporary photographers in the world. The exhibition is organized by the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., and made possible with the generous support of the Scotiabank Group.

Edward Burtynsky Recycling #10. Chittagong, Bangladesh, 2001 © Edward Burtynsky, courtesy of Nicholas Metivier Gallery, in association with Ryerson University

“We are exceptionally proud that the first major exhibition to be initiated by the Ryerson Gallery and Research Centre celebrates the work of Ryerson University alumnus and Honorary Doctorate recipient Edward Burtynsky,” said Doina Popescu, Director of the Ryerson Gallery and Research Centre. “As we lead up to the grand opening of the Ryerson Gallery and Research Centre in September 2012, we are delighted to be partnering with two major Toronto arts presenters, CONTACT Festival and the ROM. We believe that it is important to share Burtynsky’s significant photographic oeuvre with Toronto audiences now, when the theme of a sustainable environment and an openness to the transformative powers of the arts are so vital.”

“As the local presenting sponsor of Edward Burtynsky: Oil, Scotiabank Group is very proud towork with Edward Burtynsky again, in support of the celebration of art and culture in Toronto, as a premier exhibition of CONTACT 2011,” said Jane Nokes, Scotiabank Group. “Visual art continues to play an important role in our communities and this exhibition helps showcase an important part of the world’s landscape in a way that’s accessible for everyone.”

Edward Burtynsky: Oil features fifty-three beautiful and provocative large-format photographs by internationally renowned Canadian artist Edward Burtynsky. The images explore the highly-debated effects of oil extraction, our international dependency on the substance, and the ultimate collapse of the oil industry around the world. Burtynsky’s photographs render his subjects with transfixing clarity and detail. His extensive exploration is organized thematically into three distinct groupings: Extraction and Refinement, Transportation and Motor Culture, and The End of Oil.

The artist has photographed a series of arresting landscapes: aerial views of both active and derelict oil derricks, the architecture of massive refineries, highway interchanges snaking their way across the landscape, vistas of junked vehicles, recycling yards, and mammoth oil tanker ship breaking operations.

“This year’s CONTACT festival theme explores the tension between humanity and nature, from the figure in the landscape to the effect of human intervention on the ground,” said Bonnie Rubenstein, Artistic Director for the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival. “CONTACT 2011: Figure and Ground was inspired by the likeness between the exhibition Edward Burtynsky: Oil and Marshall McLuhan’s description of the “figure” as the car and the “ground” as the highways, roads, oil and gasoline, mechanics and parts, and the auto industry. “We are very pleased to present Burtynsky’s compelling work with Ryerson at the ROM as a highlight of the festival.”

”We are honoured to host this provocative exhibition of photographs by internationally renowned Canadian artist Edward Burtynsky at the ICC with our partners, the Ryerson Gallery and Research Centre and Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival,” said Janet Carding, ROM Director and CEO. “This poignant exhibition will confront our visitors with the question of the use and misuse of oil, igniting conversations on one of world’s most controversial topics. It is an excellent complement to our concurrent presentation of Water: The Exhibition, as both convey a strong message of conservation of our limited natural resources.”

Ryerson University has invited leading scientists and art experts to participate in a public symposium at Ryerson on May 6 and 7, 2011. Two panel discussions, entitled “Innovations for the Future – the Final Decades of Oil and Beyond” and “Photography as Intervention”, will address essential issues of planetary sustainability and the energy options available to us, from both the scientific and aesthetic points of view. Edward Burtynsky will be present throughout the symposium.

“I’m glad to know that my alma mater has taken the helm to bring and present the Oil exhibition in Toronto, with the CONTACT festival,” said Burtynsky. “I look forward to participating in the critical symposium they are organizing about energy and sustainability.”

A major catalogue designed and produced by the Burtynsky Studio in conjunction with the Corcoran Gallery of Art and printed by the acclaimed German publisher Steidl, accompanies the exhibition.

Admission to Edward Burtynsky: Oil is included in ROM general admission. Admission prices and periods of reduced and free admission are detailed online at www.rom.on.ca