As an archetype throughout human history, the forest has been full of enigmas and contradictions. It serves as shelter for the beginning of human civilization, and yet is encroached upon, exploited, and destroyed as part of civilization’s expansion and progress.
The Forest dates from 1986, when Maisel lived in Maine. Log flows had been abandoned in an area of northern rivers and lakes. The forms of the tree trunks, uprooted from the earth by a machine called a “whole-tree harvester,” set against the inky blackness of the water, served to abstract the images. The scale is nearly impossible to decipher. Some of the scarred, deforested images of clear-cutting recall Matthew Brady’s photographs of Civil War battlefields. The images in The Forest serve as a series of elegies for these lost, desecrated landscapes.