The Deepwater Horizon disaster of 2010 spewed oil into the Gulf of Mexico, ruining fish and wildlife stocks, and polluting waterways and beaches. It also had the collateral advantage of creating patterns in a palette of thick iridescent colors—reds, blues and greens—that Daniel Beltra photographed from high above in an airplane. In these images, the waters resemble thick daubs of paint dotted with miniature clean-up boats and the famous busted drilling platform sits in a miasma of greens, like a delicate little toy. Beltra has gone about as far as one can in aestheticizing toxicity, and one might even start thinking to contrive more environmental debacles in order to transform them into seductive simulations of paintings. Beltra reasserts photography’s familiar lesson that the bane of the moral sense can be the eye’s delight. (Michael Weinstein)
Through April 28 at Catherine Edelman Gallery, 300 West Superior
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