Forest: Eden to Apocalypse

Long ago, much of our planet was covered by trees. In distant times, forests were feared as the home of wild beasts and men, the haunt of witches and goblins. As transportation systems improved, forests became sites where nature could be revered in a pure, Edenic state, where village or urban dwellers could find solitude.

Despite our idealization of forests as places of innocent beauty, the reality is that today, in the interest of clearing arable land and producing lumber, the Earth’s forests are being destroyed at record rates. Deforestation has been determined to be a major cause of global climate change.

The photographers included in this exhibition have used their work to comment on these varying views of the forest, from the sylvan idyll pictured a century ago by Arthur Kales to the apocalyptic effects of clear cutting documented by Robert Adams. The bleak elegy of Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison’s Tree Sonata is countered by Jane Fulton Alt’s photographs of controlled burns undertaken by ecologists.

Living in or near the Green Mountain National Forest, Vermonters know well the importance of balancing our need for timber and open land with caring for this disappearing global resource.