Much like the rest of us, photographer Edward Burtynsky found himself under lockdown as the Coronavirus pandemic took hold. And he used that time to turn his camera lens toward the world around him; specifically, Grey County, Ontario.
The photos taken during that time, shot using a new camera that captures remarkable detail and density, have come together in a new exhibition titled Natural Order that will make its debut at Nicholas Metivier Gallery this month.
This is not the first time Burtynsky has turned his lens on Grey County, having photographed the area in the early 1980s. His return to this subject almost 40 years later recalls Burtynsky’s earliest works as a photographer.
For Burtynsky, the natural landscape is more than simply a setting to be captured – in the case of Natural Order, it offered a place of quiet contemplation during a time of uncertainty and unknowns.
“From the frigid sleep of winter to the fecund urgency of spring, these images are an affirmation of the complexity, wonder and resilience of the natural order in all things. I find myself gazing into an infinity of apparent chaos, but through that selective contemplation, an order emerges — an enduring order that remains intact regardless of our own human fate,” says Burtynsky in a statement about his new body of work.
In addition to the exhibition of large-scale colour photographs, Burtynsky and Nicholas Metivier Gallery have published a limited edition portfolio of 10 photographs and a new book of the same name, published by Steidl. This portfolio is being issued as a means of supporting the Canadian photography community, with proceeds from the sale donated to the Art Gallery of Ontario and Ryerson Image Centre in Toronto for the establishment of new funds dedicated to acquiring the works of emerging to mid-career Canadian photographic artists.
Natural Order will open at the Nicholas Metivier Gallery and in the gallery’s online viewing room on Thursday, Sept. 3 and run until Sept. 26.