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Gabriel Orozco and Edward Burtynsky: The Highlights

On 12th November, we took a private group to view the work of two artists whose practices have more in common than one may initially assume

As part of artscope's private programme, we took a small group to view the Gabriel Orozco Diario de Plantas show at White Cube Mason's Yard, followed by a visit to Edward Burtynsky's African Studies at Flowers Gallery.


Known for deconstructing and reconstructing found objects in works such as Citroen DS, Orozco is preoccupied with society's visual, tactile and cultural relationships with these objects and what can be revealed when we examine, break down and reconfigure these forms. His work offer new ways of looking at these institutions once the system of reference has been exposed.

Gabriel Orozco, La DS, 1993. Courtesy of MoMA.

Diario de Plantas features pages from Orozco's notebook filled with prints of leaves and flowers. The pages offer a glimpse into an important research-based element of Orozco's practice, where the artist uses varied mediums to negotiate his thoughts, questions and ideas. Reminiscent of child-like experimentation with the most basic form of printmaking, the viewer is reminded of the messiness and unpredictability of nature- something Orozco is noticeably fixated with.

The show includes several striking canvases in tempera and gold leaf that feature painting from plant forms with geometric shapes and mapping overlayed. The artist regularly searches for geometry in nature, and how these shapes may link the visual found in nature with other natural systems that exist in other planes. For example, in Dark Wave, Orozco builds a whale skeleton from casts of original bones and draws concentric circles across the skeleton to indicate pulse points and other features of the whale's biology. In making these marks, the viewer is made aware of other related features of the object and is invited to consider them through a new lens.

Gabriel Orozco, "Dark Wave", 2006. Courtesy of Omkonst.
Gabriel Orozco, "Dark Wave", 2006. Courtesy of Omkonst.


Works such as Crab in Diario de Plantas combines more realistic renderings of flora and fauna to observe the organic matter and highlight the geometry embedded within the shape. In doing so, the viewer appreciates new characteristics of form that are revealed to be naturally entwined within the subject of the work.


A few streets away at Flowers Gallery, Edward Burtynsky is showing his lates series of aerial photography. As an activist defending environmental responsibility, Burtynksy considers the 'sublime-horror' theory of revealing the dark nature of human intervention in nature through seemingly beautiful and epic photographs. His images from Africa include shots of salt ponds, iron ore mines and dams, but weave in scenes of untouched wild landscape as well. It becomes hard to distinguish the ruin from the pristine, revealing new truths about the growing inability to identify destruction to our Earth.




In a fascinating meeting of the minds, Burtynsky shares a similar interest in geometry in nature to Orozco. The photography often has a flattened frontal aspect that transforms the image into sumptuously graduating colour fields or vigorous grid-like compositions. The abstracted shapes and inherent geometry in the scenes only reinforce what we saw in Orozco's work- revealing the same concern for a very different artist and reinforcing the complexity within the true nature of visual form.


For more information on private programmes, please email artscopeintl@gmail.com.


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