Skip to Main Content

Edward Burtynsky

Greenhouses, Almira Peninsula, Spain (2013)

Ground floor, located in London Life Lounge.


Edward Burtynsky

chromogenic print, edition 3, copy 1
60" x 80"

Burtynsky: Water
New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) / Contemporary Art Center (CAC)
(October 2013 - January 2014)

This large, colour-photograph from Burtynsky's Water series captures the way in which civilization harnesses and interacts with one of nature's most precious liquids: water. This particular image appears to be an abstract, geometric composition comprised of blocks of cool colours, however, upon further investigation it becomes quite clear that the photograph presents an aerial perspective of sprawling greenhouses that compose a portion of the Spanish peninsula.

Exhibition History

The highly anticipated release of Edward Burtynsky's Water (2007 - 2013) will be exhibited at Flowers Gallery during October 2013. An overview of large-format colour photographs will go on view across two floors of the gallery. The exhibition will coincide with the launch of a new film Watermark co-directed with Jennifer Baichwal (released theatrically in Canada by Mongrel Media), and Burtynsky's fifth book published by Steidl.

Water is the most recent instalment of the artist's investigation into our continually compromised environment. Weaving together the various roles that it plays in everyday life, Burtynsky has undertaken an ambitious representation of water's increasingly fragmented life cycle. Often from an aerial perspective, the photographs take on a unique abstraction and painterly quality. Many of the images focus our attention not on water itself, but on the systems that humans have put in place in order to harness, shape and commodify it. Water follows the format of previous projects such as Oil, China and Quarries in it's encyclopaedic exploration of a broad theme through a series of connected chapters or locations. Both beautiful and haunting Burtynsky's Water creates a compelling global portrait that illustrates humanity's past, present and future relationship with the natural world and its most vital and rapidly depleting resource.

Exhibition information courtesy of Flowers Gallery


Edward Burtynsky is known as one of Canada's most respected photographers. His remarkable photographic depictions of global industrial landscapes are included in the collections of over sixty major museums around the world, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in California.

Burtynsky was born in 1955 of Ukrainian heritage in St. Catharines, Ontario. He received his BAA in Photography/ Media Studies from Ryerson University in 1982, and in 1985 founded Toronto Image Works, a darkroom rental facility, custom photo laboratory, digital imaging and new media computer-training centre catering to all levels of Toronto's art community.

Early exposure to the sites and images of the General Motors plant in his hometown helped to formulate the development of his photographic work. His imagery explores the collective impact we as a species are having on the surface of the planet; an inspection of the human systems we've imposed onto natural landscapes.

Exhibitions include Water (2013) at the New Orleans Museum of Art & Contemporary Art Center, New Orleans, Louisiana (international touring exhibition), Oil (2009) at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. (five-year international touring show), China (toured 2005 - 2008), Manufactured Landscapes at the National Gallery of Canada (touring from 2003 - 2005), and Before the Flood (2003). Burtynsky's visually compelling works are currently being exhibited in solo and group exhibitions across Canada, the United States, Europe and Asia.

As an active lecturer on photographic art, Burtynsky's speaking engagements have been held at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., George Eastman House in Rochester, NY, The Canadian Center for Architecture in Montreal, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the TED conference, Idea City, and Ryerson University in Toronto. His images appear in numerous periodicals each year including Canadian Art, Art in America, The Smithsonian Magazine, Harper's Magazine, Flash Art, Blind Spot, Art Forum, Saturday Night, National Geographic and the New York Times.

Edward Burtynsky’s distinctions include the TED Prize, the Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts, The Outreach award at the Rencontres d’Arles, the Roloff Beny Book award, and the Rogers Best Canadian Film Award. He sits on the board of directors for CONTACT: Toronto’s International Photography Festival, and The Ryerson Image Centre. In 2006 he was awarded the title of Officer of the Order of Canada and currently holds six honorary doctorate degrees.

Biography courtesy of

Connect with Ivey Business School