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Burtynsky: Extraction/Abstraction

This is not a show for the faint hearted. Mega scale photography covers every gallery wall documenting in graphic detail the devastating consequences of human greed, commercialism and overproductibity. Lulled into a false sense of security initially the beauty of the Burtynsky's images hits you hard but there's no getting away from the continuing message - a perfect photographic snapshot of how we continue to ravish our natural world.

On closer inspection you begin to appreciate that every image tells a pretty grim story. Over mining, over farming, over eating - basically excess on top of excess.

Burtynsky's most famous image this red river of nickel was shot just outside Sudbury in Canada. Deceptive on the eye this is actually a small creek rather than a fiery river. The vibrant red water is brimming with oxidised liquid waste.

The pock marked mining settlement above, like much of the sapphire mining across Madagascar, is pretty much unregulated. As many precious gems are found below seawater levels animals and people often fall to their death in unprotected pits that can measure up to 50 meters deep.

The centre piece of the show is a hugely moving and immersive film - In the Wake of Progress combining photos and films taken throughout Burtynsky's career - it's a challenging watch. 30mins.

This is the Burtynsky's largest exhibition in the UK. His greatest hope is that visitors will sense the urgency of our current climate crisis and become more motivated to act positively for the future of our plant. We hope so too....

By Julia Colls 13 February

First and Second Floor Galleries

14Feb-6 May

Tickets: From £10


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