Art in Response to Industrial Revolutions

June 18, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

Earlier in the spring, in the week after debuting my "Art Design in Photography" book and talk, it was fitting to see an art exhibit on my favourite art style (impressionism) at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO): "Impressionism in the Age of Industry: Monet, Pissarro and more".

The exhibit included artworks that showed how the change from rural life to industrial development (post Industrial Revolution) influenced artists of that time in Paris. Advancements were made in train travel, and in building iron bridges and iconic structures such as the Eiffel Tower. Almost 150 years later, we continue to travel on ever-faster bullet trains, and build taller skyscrapers reaching for the sky, even designing 3D-printed shelters that can be placed on the Moon or on Mars and beyond.

Arrival of the Normandy Train, Gare Saint-Lazare (Claude Monet)Arrival of the Normandy Train, Gare Saint-Lazare (Claude Monet)

Claude Monet, Arrival of the Normandy Train, Gare Saint-Lazare, 1877

Eiffel Tower (Georges Seurat)Eiffel Tower (Georges Seurat)

Georges Seurat, Eiffel Tower, c.1889

Since that time, two more Industrial Revolutions have taken place, and the 4th Industrial Revolution has started. We now live in an age where we use augmented reality to ride up the Eiffel Tower's elevator while standing inside a room in Toronto, and robots attend to hotel room service and serve food in restaurants. There is fear that some jobs will become obsolete due to these developments, yet on the other hand, robots can assist with tasks where human resources are lacking, and more. 


As Monet captured the atmospheric effects of the first Industrial Revolution's pollution on London's Charing Cross Bridge...

Charing Cross Bridge, Overcast Weather (Claude Monet)Charing Cross Bridge, Overcast Weather (Claude Monet)

Claude Monet, Charing Cross Bridge, Overcast Weather, 1900 

...I once again admire an architectural gem - the spiral staircase at the AGO, ponder on the effects of the 4th Industrial Revolution, where we are headed, and created the following photographic art piece in response.

Looking to the FutureLooking to the FutureWhat does the future hold? A perpetual question...looking to the sky for answers.


Looking to the future - where will the 4th Industrial Revolution take us?

(All images of paintings credited to the exhibition held at the Art Gallery of Ontario, 2019.)


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