In the summer of 2008, Andrew Garn was assigned by the Smithsonian Institution to document biodiversity in a remote area of the Peruvian Amazon. This mission was an incomparable opportunity to photograph an unexplored region of the jungle. Accompanied by six scientists and a number of macheteros, the team traveled throughout the brush, many times creating new trails in untouched rain forest.
Soon the duplicitous nature of the expedition surfaced. The Smithsonian was in place to document the pristine conditions of the forest during the early stages of an extensive oil exploration project initiated by the Spanish energy giant Repsol. Leasing an immense 800 square mile tract from the Peruvian government, Repsol created over 20 helicopter landing fields by clear cutting immense swaths of forest. Explosive charges were set off to measure the oil reserves under the jungle floor. Eventually, pumping rigs were flown in and a 50-mile pipeline was constructed to bring the oil to market.
Garn’s experience in the Amazon reveals a place of majestic beauty as well as one of overwhelming chaos, confusion and terror. His photographs and eight minute video, “Lost Amazon,” depict a setting of obfuscation, where the boundaries of heavenly reprieve frequently dissolved into torment and wretchedness.
Two series of photographs detail the jungle inhabitants in their grace and inevitable demise. The Shadow Series illustrates a troubling world where lies an artificial sense of safety. The main body of work, set in a darkened gallery, conveys both the seduction and fear that make up the Amazon.
Also, in the gallery’s project room is “Toxic Molecules,” welded steel and paper wall sculptures by artist Christy Rupp.
Garn’s show opens March 12 with a reception, 6-8 p.m., and will be on view through April 18. Gallery hours are Friday-Sunday, 1-6 p.m. The gallery is at 328 Berry Street (third floor) in Brooklyn. For more, call 917-570-1476 or visit www.amrichardfineart.com.