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BOOKS IN THE MEDIA

CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 6/29/2012

Robert Longo: Charcoal, Thelma Herzl: Aska Reviewed in The New York Times

Already shortlisted for Germany's most prestigious book prize, Robert Longo: Charcoal was reviewed today by Dana Jennings in The New York Times, alongside Thelma Herzl's new monograph, Aska. Scroll down for a selection of images and excerpts of Jennings' review.


Robert Longo: Charcoal, Thelma Herzl: Aska Reviewed in The New York Times
Featured image is reproduced from Robert Longo: Charcoal.

Paper Gallery
Au Naturel
By DANA JENNINGS
Published: June 28, 2012


The savviest piece of advice I got as a rookie reporter-photographer came my first week on the job at The Exeter News-Letter in New Hampshire. The picture editor told me, “If you think you’re close, get closer.” Words to brand on your brain, maybe even your retinas, if you’re being paid to see, especially when laying bare the natural world.
To be an artist focused on nature means to shed your human skin and peer so fiercely and near that you forget where you end and where nature begins. We still respect the uncanny eye that can get close in and clearly see the flora and fauna one county, or one country, over, then report back in a way that renews the world for us.
The artists featured here transport the reader to Iceland and rural Ohio, southern France and the middle of nowhere, and to that deepest of interiors: the imagination. In these books a volcano distills the landscape to abstraction, birds’ nests are wrought, and irises bloom and fade, bloom and fade.

Robert Longo: Charcoal, Thelma Herzl: Aska Reviewed in The New York Times
Featured image is reproduced from Aska.

ASKA
By Thelma Herzl
137 pages. Kerber. $49.95.


When the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland blew in 2010, Thelma Herzl couldn’t stay away. Raised in Iceland but living in Austria, Ms. Herzl is a collagist, sculptor and land artist, but here all she had to do was look hard and photograph formations — natural land art — born of volcanic ash. The recommended musical pairing for these images, which take us back to our primal origins as the guts of the earth met the sea, are the ethereal Icelandic soundscapes of Sigur Ros.

Robert Longo: Charcoal, Thelma Herzl: Aska Reviewed in The New York Times
Featured image is reproduced from Robert Longo: Charcoal.

ROBERT LONGO: CHARCOAL
251 pages. Hatje Cantz. $95.


Art doesn’t get more basic than charcoal drawings, unless it’s those scratched in the dirt with a stick. In the cave of Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc in France, the charcoal drawings are (perhaps) 32,000 years old. Mr. Longo’s hyper-realistic drawings here are a bit more recent, though no less lively. Many of them dwell on nature: skyscraper waves out of a surfer’s dream, and razor-mouthed sharks out of a surfer’s nightmare; white tigers and vast nebulas; and mushroom clouds as if drafted by Georgia O’Keeffe.

Robert Longo: Charcoal, Thelma Herzl: Aska Reviewed in The New York Times
Robert Longo: Charcoal, Thelma Herzl: Aska Reviewed in The New York Times
Robert Longo: Charcoal, Thelma Herzl: Aska Reviewed in The New York Times
Robert Longo: Charcoal, Thelma Herzl: Aska Reviewed in The New York Times
Robert Longo: Charcoal, Thelma Herzl: Aska Reviewed in The New York Times