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Edward Burtynsky Exhibition Reviewed in the Wall Street Journal

Edward Burtynsky takes up a lot of space: One of the prints at Wolkowitz is 80-by-60 inches. And, since he is very productive, it takes Greenberg’s two galleries as well as Wolkowitz’s to show off his past and present achievements. Mr. Burtynsky is Earth’s amanuensis, airborne with his camera recording the changes man has made on the planet below.


The two “Essential Elements” exhibitions are retrospective, with 19 prints at Wolkowitz and 10 at Greenberg. The former includes the armada of motorcycles in the “Kiss Concert Parking Area, Sturgis, Sough Dakota” (2008) set against a backdrop of the Black Hills; the perfect green circle of “Pivot Irrigation #39, High Plains, Texas Panhandle” (2012); and the intricate weaving of overpasses and underpasses in “Highway #2, Intersection 105 & 110, Los Angeles, California” (2003). Greenberg has the wintry “Landscape Study #13, Ontario, Canada” (1981), an early work from Mr. Burtynsky’s native province, and the vast pit that is “Chino Mine #1, Silver City, New Mexico, USA” (2012).


The eight “Salt Pans” images were shot in India, in a desolate gray wasteland where the natives eke out meager livings farming salt in large rectangular plots. From the air, their whitish geometric shapes are evidence of a strong-willed determination to produce something that can be sold. But the lack of anything green—of anything that grows—shows at what a cost.