Art Gallery of Alberta

Media Release

World-renowned photographer Edward Burtynsky in Edmonton to mark opening of new exhibition at the AGA

September 17, 2010

Click here for Media Kit

EDMONTON, AB – The Art Gallery of Alberta (AGA) is excited to launch a new season of exhibition with the opening of EDWARD BURTYNSKY: OIL, running September 18, 2010 to January 2, 2011. Edward Burtynsky, the internationally acclaimed photographer behind the exhibition, will speak to a sold-out crowd about his work in a special artist lecture on Saturday, September 18 at the AGA.

“Edward Burtynsky’s work focuses on the representation of our world landscape, as it has come to be shaped by the activity of humankind over the past century,” said Catherine Crowston, Chief Curator / Deputy Director at the Art Gallery of Alberta. “His works reveal the awesome power of our own industry, the force of which used to belong only to nature. He records these effects, as patterns etched onto the earth but also marked in time through histories of behavior and decision-making. Burtynsky reveals the landscapes of our own making, which are both sublimely beautiful and shockingly real.”

EDWARD BURTYNSKY: OIL features 55 large-scale, colour photographs by Canadian artist Edward Burtynsky. The exhibition surveys the artist’s decade-long journey around the world to chronicle the life-cycle—production distribution and use—of the fuel that has shaped the modern world: oil. In addition to revealing the rarely-seen mechanics of its manufacture, Burtynsky photographs the effects of oil on our lives, depicting landscapes altered by its extraction from the earth and by the cities and suburban sprawl generated around its use. He also addresses the coming “end of oil,” as we confront its rising cost and dwindling availability.

Burtynsky’s extensive exploration is organized thematically: aerial views of oil fields, the architecture of massive refineries, highway interchanges and motorculture aficianados at automotive events. The artist concludes his exploration with a series of arresting ‘manufactured landscapes’: ancient oil derricks, vistas of junked vehicles, recycling yards and mammoth shipbreaking operations. The exhibition includes photographs taken in Canada, the United States of America, Bangladesh, China and Azerbaijan.

EDWARD BURTYNSKY: OIL is organized by the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. and curated by Paul Roth. The exhibition is made possible with the generous support of the Scotiabank Group and is co-presented at the Art Gallery of Alberta by the Scotiabank Group and Enbridge Pipelines Inc.

“We are able to bring this important exhibition to Alberta with the help of two visionary partners, each with long-standing histories of supporting arts and culture,” said Gilles Hébert, AGA Executive Director. “Scotiabank’s commitment to this exhibition—and to Burtynsky’s body of work—is truly exemplary. Enbridge’s support of contemporary Canadian art enables us to continue to bring remarkable art from across this nation to Alberta. We thank them for their support.”

Edward Burtynsky
Edward Burtynsky is one of the world’s most respected photographers. His colour photographs of industrially transformed landscapes are in the collections of more than fifty major museums around the world. Among many other honors, Burtynsky was awarded a prestigious TED Prize in 2004 and named an Officer of the Order of Canada, our nation’s highest civilian honor in 2007. Burtynsky was commissioned to photograph the construction of the new AGA resulting in an exhibition called Edward Burtynsky: Building Art: Photographs of the Building of the New AGA, 2008-2010. He also donated 48 photographs to the AGA’s permanent collection in 2006. Most recently, his exhibition of images from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill opened September 16, 2010 at the Nicholas Metivier Gallery in Toronto.

Public Programs and Events
The AGA is presenting a wide-range of public programs and events to complement this exhibition, including weekly tours, film screenings, talks and a public forum on oil. For more information on related programs and events, please see the attached Backgrounder.

The exhibition is accompanied by a major book, available at Shop AGA. Edward Burtynsky: Oil, features essays by Paul Roth, Michael Mitchell and William E. Rees. The book recently won the Krasna-Krausz Foundation’s 25th And/or Book Award for Best Photography Book.

Visitor Information
The AGA’s hours of operation are: 11 am to 7 pm on Tuesday to Friday; 10 am to 5 pm on weekends; closed Monday. Admission is $12 for adults; $8 for students and seniors; $26 for families (two adults and up to four minors); free for children six years old and under and free for AGA Members. AGA Memberships cost $55 for adults; $85 for families; $35 for students and seniors and $70 for senior couples.


The Art Gallery of Alberta is a centre of excellence for the visual arts in Western Canada, connecting people, art and ideas. The AGA is focused on the development and presentation of original exhibitions of contemporary and historical art from Alberta, Canada and around the world. The AGA also offers a full-range of art education and public programs. Founded in 1924, the Art Gallery of Alberta maintains a collection of more than 6,000 objects and is the oldest cultural institution in Alberta. It is the only museum in the province solely dedicated to the exhibition and preservation of art and visual culture. The AGA recently underwent a major re-building project. Designed by Los Angeles architect Randall Stout, the 85,000 sq foot (7,900 sq metres) new AGA opened to the public on January 31, 2010. The new Gallery features three floors of premiere exhibition space; the City of Edmonton Terrace; the Singhmar Centre for Art Education; Zinc resto lounge; Shop AGA; Ledcor Theatre and an Art Rental and Sales Gallery.

The Art Gallery of Alberta is a not-for-profit organization that relies on the support of its Members, donors, sponsors and government. The AGA is grateful for the generous support of the many public and private donors and sponsors who have made the AGA’s New Vision possible, as well as the ongoing support of the City of Edmonton, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, The Canada Council for the Arts and our Members.

Media Contact:
Oksana Gowin, Senior Manager, Marketing and Communications
T: 780.392.2466 E:

Media Kit

Backgrounder (PDF 156 KB)

Contact Sheet (PDF 1.6 MB)

Fact Sheet (PDF 152 KB)