Crossroads Exhibit Examines Impact of Energy Industries

LethbridgeCrossroads: Alberta’s Ecology and Energy Future, an exhibit by award-winning photographer Garth Lenz at the Galt Museum & Archives until April 28, examines how varying degrees of ecological consequences related to oil, gas and wind energy production must be considered in the implementation of these industries and the use of their products.

“Garth Lenz captures the land and the use of the land in a series of dramatic images,” says Wendy Aitkens, Curator at the Galt. “The visual impact of his photographs encourages the viewer to reflect on his subject matter.”

Crossroads is a visual exploration of Alberta’s oil sands, the boreal ecosystem which surrounds it, and the challenges and opportunities they represent. The world’s largest energy project and the largest and most intact remaining forest ecosystem offer dramatic opportunities for visual comparison and reflection. Photographed mostly from the air, the scale of each of these subjects is revealed along with striking similarities and marked contrasts.

“From the outset, a central theme of my work has been the contrasts between the industrialized and natural landscape,” says photographer Garth Lenz. “The primary focus of my early work was forests and the impacts of industrial logging. My recent work has been largely focused on the world of modern fossil fuel production and its associated impacts on the landscape.”

Far to the south of the oil sands, renewable energy such as Alberta's wind farms, currently about 2% of Alberta's energy production, offer the promise of long term energy and economic security. While the discussion of the oil sands, ecological issues, and alternative energy sources has become polarized and confrontational, this exhibit reveals a reality which is much more nuanced and intriguing.

Lenz’s work has appeared in Time, GEO, The Christian Science Monitor, The New York Times, The Walrus, Canadian Geographic, The Guardian, BBC Wildlife Magazine, National Geographic Society, Esquire, and many other leading publications. He received awards from the Prix de la Photographie Paris, the International Photography Awards and the Center for Fine Art Photography. In 2011, work from the Alberta Oil Sands and boreal forests series were featured in a major solo exhibition at the G2 Gallery in Los Angeles, at the Powerhouse Arena in Brooklyn and at the Aperture Foundation Gallery in New York. Other works have been exhibited recently at the Center for Fine Art Photography, at the British Columbia Art Council, in the Capital building in Washington D.C., at the Banff Mountain Film Festival, and at the Annenberg Space for Photography. In 2008 Garth Lenz was designated a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers.

The exhibit, located in the Lower Level Gallery, will be open for viewing during the Galt’s April 21 Museum Community Day: Earth Day event from 1:00-5:00 pm. For updates and details visit, call 403.320-3954, or email

Anine VonkemanComment