Terra Incognita: Photographs of America’s Third Coast
Terra Incognita: Photographs of America’s Third Coast
Photographs and Preface by Richard Sexton
A second edition of Terra Incognita will be available in mid May 2010 with a retail price of $40.00. This edition is published by Capitola Art Press, New Orleans, in conjunction with the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, University of New Orleans. It will be distributed by University Press of Mississippi. This edition features a new cover, but is otherwise identical to the original edition published by Chronicle Books, San Francisco, in 2007. To view the original edition of Terra Incognita, click here.
Publication Date: May 2010
Distributed by University Press of Mississippi: www.upress.state.ms.us
A limited edition of Terra Incognita was published by Chronicle Books in September 2008 and is available through Richard Sexton's galleries and select booksellers. The gallery edition includes a linen covered clamshell case and an original signed quadtone pigment print of the cover image. The gallery edition is limited to 200 books. $400 retail
A major exhibition of the photographs from Terra Incognita is currently being organized by The Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans. This exhibit of approximately 60 images will hang in the main gallery on the Ogden’s fourth floor and will open on October 6, 2007, the evening of Art for Art’s Sake, and will continue through January 2, 2008.
Terra Incognita features 83 black/white images reproduced in high-quality duotone with a spot varnish. The format is 11” x 12” and includes two gatefold full-bleed reproductions that are 12” x 44” in scale.
Richard Sexton not only finds beauty in the landscape, but meaning and worth. In the end, these photographs, through the explorations of their maker, foster some understanding of the lesser known, permitting us to find, in this unknown land, recognition and universal truth.
Terra Incognita is simply brilliant. A lovely book, with very strong and well seen images, beautifully produced. I love the reproduction quality.
"Since the April Deepwater Horizon explosion, the entire Gulf Coast has been in serious peril. It has long been a subject of photographer Richard Sexton, whose 2007 book Terra Incognita lovingly documents the tangled swampland and once-pristine beaches between Georgia and Louisiana... And we urge our readers to take a look at the brilliance and (now) poignance that is Terra Incognita.
Richard Sexton: 'Terra Incognita'
The beautiful duotones in this book, subtitled Photographs of America's Third Coast, reveal a photographer with a painter's patience - the desolation in these views along the Gulf Coast imply a long trek before the tripod is even set down. Nothing in these extremely fine-grained prints remotely resembles a "snapshot." Black branches of dead trees scribble across luminously gray skies; humps of white sand scoured by the wind contrast with frazzled skeins of vegetation darkening their lee sides; Spanish moss drips down like the turpentine drizzles in an abstract -expressionistic painting; distant shorelines are as soft and gray as charcoal smudges. Sexton's spare compositions coalesce into a portrait of nature as the ultimate abstractionist. 128 pp. $50, chroniclebooks.com
Less dramtatic than the Pacific coast with its rocky promontories and frothy jade surf, and more intimate than the imposing shores of the Atlantic, the Gulf Coast has long been overlooked as one of America's defining regions. Consequently, it is this country's neglected Third Coast, or such is the premise on which an exhibition and a new book by New Orleans photographer Richard Sexton are based. . . Sexton has chosen to ignore the easiest and most eye-catching subjects in favor of something deeper and more subtle. In so doing, he sets an intentionally high bar that is challenging in any number of ways. . . Sexton, a Georgia native who grew up near the Okefenokee Swamp, focuses his lens on the vacant beaches and desiccated foliage of the Gulf Coast in winter, a time when its unbridled baroque opulence gives way to a sparseness of line and form, a silver-gray rectitude rendered in classic black-and-white photographs. In that sense, it is a very Lenten vision, a meditation on transience and temporality.
In fact, Transience is the title of an emblamatic image of the beach in winter, with footprints in the damp sand leading toward a lone wanderer in the distance. Here the waves seem cast in pewter, dimly reflecting a sun obscured by the sea fog that wafts over the horizon. As a landscape, this study in minimalism is about as far from Ansel Adams as you can get, but that's probably a good thing under the circumstances. Of coures, drama is never really absent. Ascension is a classical Florida beachscape with cottony cumulus clouds in a darkly cosmic sky rising over a sand dune topped with a thatch of foliage and grasses and, for a moment, you can forget that this is really a state park and not one of Walter Anderson's uninhabited barrier islands. Echo is a view of a long dead, sun-bleached, storm-sundered tree, its remaining branches outstretched in a horizontal pantomime of anguish, and here we enter the world of surreal nature, the fabled preserve of Max Ernst, Clarence Laughlin and Frederick Sommer.
This view of nature as a tangled labyrinth appears in his swamp scenes as well, in his Medieval Dreams series of landscapses of massive live oaks rising from tangled vines in wilderness preserves. Similar sensibilities also surface in a series of still life studies of birds' nests in which the usual straw and reeds are interwoven with twist ties and other discarded artifacts of human consumer culture. Ultimately, the power of this series, in the the show as in the book, rests with its subtleties and silencies, the familiarity of the swampy jungle that miraculously reappears as soon as any parcel of land in these parts is neglected and in the all too familiar sight of dead trees in swamp forests decimated by storms or the clear-cutting by commercial interests that only seems to invite more, and potentially apocalyptic, storm damage. All in all, Terra Incognita makes for an interesting meditation on the more intimate and familiar side of nature and the arcane, sometimes surprising mysteries contained therein.
Terra Incognita is a wonderful collection of strong and traditional landscape and still life images devoted to the United State's Gulf Coast.
Terra Incognita captures in haunting black and white images a bayou landscape both evocative and fragile.