Aerial Images of Salterns That Blur the Line Between Photograph and Painting

Pink Pools, Hut Lagoon, Western Australia, 2015 Pink Pools, Hut Lagoon, Western Australia, 2015

Photographer David Burdeny, whose photo of a towering iceberg i featured last month, has been working on another large-scale photography project. Burdeny began the series SALT: Fields, Plottings and Extracts in 2015, using aerial photography to explore some of the world’s most vibrant salterns in Utah, Mexico, and Australia. Gazing upon the images it’s difficult to determine whether the expressive boxes of color are produced with a camera or paintbrush, or if the gestures were made by hand or nature.

“In their use of amorphous shapes, elongated fields of color and vertical, jagged and sinuous lines, Burdeny’s images suggest the painterly expressiveness of Rothko, Still, Newman, Diebenkorn and late career Willem de Kooning,” explains an essay written about the project. “The effect is less intentional than it is available—Modernism’s abstracted reordering of the visual landscape…permits a non-objective reading of these compositions.”

These works, along with a selection of Burdeny’s aerial photographs from Dutch flower fields, will be included in the solo exhibition Salt and Veld opening December 15th at Gilman Contemporary. The exhibition runs through January 20, 2017. You can see images from Burdeny’s SALT series, as well images from Cuba, Russia, and Brazil on his website.

Saltern Study 14, Great Salt Lake, UT, 2015Saltern Study 14, Great Salt Lake, UT, 2015

Saltern Study 02, Great Salt Lake, UT, 2015Saltern Study 02, Great Salt Lake, UT, 2015

Saltern Study 15, Great Salt Lake, UT, 2015Saltern Study 15, Great Salt Lake, UT, 2015

Saltern Study 06, Great Salt Lake, UT, 2015Saltern Study 06, Great Salt Lake, UT, 2015

Saltern Study 12, Great Salt Lake, UT, 2015Saltern Study 12, Great Salt Lake, UT, 2015

Searles Lake 2, Mojave Desert, California, USA, 2015Searles Lake 2, Mojave Desert, California, USA, 2015

Saltern Study 08, Great Salt Lake, UT, 2015Saltern Study 08, Great Salt Lake, UT, 2015

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One thought on “Aerial Images of Salterns That Blur the Line Between Photograph and Painting

  1. We had those where I lived as a child in southern California. There are several in northern and southern California. I used to go down to them and rescue animals that would get stuck in their waters. Birds especially, because they would fly in and their body heat would crystallize the salt on their wings and they’d be unable to fly out. I could never rescue all of them, just the ones near the edge, mostly because I couldn’t swim and was unsure of the depth of the ponds. We use to call them “salt ponds”.

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