Joel Sternfeld: Oxbow Archive

October 8th, 2009

I finally got around to buying Oxbow Archive, Joel Sternfeld’s latest monograph published by Steidl just last October. Good thing – it is almost sold out. I grew up in the Pioneer Valley and aside from the painting View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm—The Oxbow, 1836 by Thomas Cole as inspiration for photographing the flood plain of the Connecticut River east of Northampton, Massachusetts, I wondered why choose that American landscape. It is an indescript landscape of cultivated fields surrounded by the chaos of brambles and overgrown vegetation. Yet by following the seasonal progression of Sternfeld’s photographs, I journeyed through the quite landscape, the diffused New England winter light, the crunchy cornstocks, the long grass, the dirt roads, the frozen little puddles that crack when you step on them, and I felt quite nostalgic. Driving north on 91, the Holyoke mountain range opens up into the fields of the valley that allow for an expansive view of the flood plain. Impressive, as in the painting by Cole, but it is through the photographs of Sternfeld, that the layers and details of landscape are explored.

Burtynsky at the Corcoran

October 2nd, 2009

Oil Fields #19a & 19b, Belridge, California, USA, 2003

Oil Fields #19a & 19b, Belridge, California, USA, 2003

Edward Burtynsky: Oil opens this weekend at the Corcoran with a special event featuring Burtynsky and Dr. William Rees, an ecological economist, at 4pm on Saturday. The exhibit showcases the production, distribution, use, and disposal of oil in large-scale photographs notorious of Burtynsky. “In 1997 I had what I refer to as my oil epiphany,” Burtynsky explains: “it occurred to me that all the vast, man-altered landscapes I had been in pursuit of for over 20 years were all possible because of the discovery of oil and the mechanical advantage of the internal combustion engine.” The exhibition catalog by Steidl is not out yet, but you can get a copy at the Corcoran and have Burtynsky sign it tomorrow after the event.

New for the Corcoran is this video I found on their site. Paul Roth, Senior Curator at the Corcoran, discusses the work and briefly walks you through the exhibit.

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