Von Lintel Gallery Explores Landscapes and Space
By Genie Davis
Through April 22nd
Two powerful solo exhibitions smash conceptions of landscape and space — and redefine them at Culver City’s Von Lintel Gallery through April 22nd.
Canadian artist Edward Burtynsky subverts landscape images in his large-scale color photographs which dazzle with intricate detail. Poetic ruminations on landscapes undeniably altered by man, Industrial Abstract features images that at first defy explanation. The images are of large-scale aerial views of industry, but at first glance they look like delicate geometric shapes and patterns, something otherworldly and indefinable. Take Saw Mills #1, whose tiny, matchbook-like images are in reality massive amounts of lumber. Other subjects include copper, gold, and salt mining operations, but with each, the overall effect is one of ethereal beauty. Chino Mine #3, Silver City, New Mexico, is a swirl of delicate grace, depicting what appear to be tiny quilted landscapes. Salt Pan #18, Little Rann of Kutch, Gujarat, offers tiny rectangular shapes as precise and perfect as dominoes in a row. Or study Dryland Farming #5, Monegros County, Aragon, 2010, a landscape which resembles animal skins splayed across the ground.
Distance is part of Burtynsky’s approach. The artist photographs his subject from a helicopter or plane, or uses a drone to record these vast views; the miniaturization of large scale subjects creates not only an entirely different viewpoint of the scenes he captures but an entirely different world. There is a beauty in the industrial havoc man has wrought, or as the artist phrases it “a reversal of the sublime.” To Burtynsky, man’s tendency to look in awe upon the sea or mountains has been replaced by a look at the “fearsome force” that is man’s imprint on the earth. The Canadian-born artist offers a literally and figuratively unique perspective from which to view the wonder of man’s capability for destruction and his reshaping of the planet.
Also on exhibit are the paintings of Canan Tolon, whose work offers another fresh look at space and form. The oil on canvas works are fused with a sense of energy and motion. While Tolon’s work resembles photographic and collage imagery, these techniques are not employed. Instead, Tolon uses black paint pressed and scraped into the canvas, as well as materials such as rust and oil. Tolon color tints subjects the way a color filter might on a camera. The works alter as the viewer’s perspective does. Move close to the piece and some of the scratched-in images disappear entirely. The California-based artist calls this work a way to make sense of things, both visually and environmentally. The artist takes on a politically charged meaning, daring viewers to see what is real. Untitled 12.5, 2016 uses rust, acrylic and oil on canvas to create images that could be bridges, highways, boats. There is a sense of motion, the look of aging film spooling from a reel. Or, look closely at Untitled 11.4, 2016, oil on canvas, in which images that could be jet propellers or explosive devices poke through a clouded and riven darkness.
Paired together, both artists’ works create a unique fusion of personal perception, artistic vision, and a new way of looking at the world. What you see is what you get – or is it? Tolon and Burtynsky reveal a new dimension, and ask viewers to question not only what they see, but what they feel when they see it. This is an exhibition well worth taking in.
The gallery is located at 2685 La Cienega Ave. in Culver City.