MARTHA TUTTLE: METAXU
JANUARY 7TH – FEBRUARY 20TH, 2016
OPENING RECEPTION JANUARY 7TH, 6 – 8 PM
Tilton Gallery is delighted to present Martha Tuttle’s first solo show, opening Thursday, January 7th from 6 to 8 pm. The exhibition will run until February 20th, 2016.
Filled with light and space, Martha Tuttle’s newest works capture the ephemeral nuances of time, spirit and nature in earthbound hanging paintings. Discreet and substantial objects, each piece has a firm hold on conveying its own statement, its own personality, what it is meant to be.
In the larger works, two layers of paper, almost silk in feel, have been manipulated and engaged with by folding, rubbing, and dyeing. The artist uses pigments and colors found in the basic elements, including earth from her alternate home of New Mexico. Subtle variations in color and shadow result from the hand rubbing and folding. The outermost layer of these paintings is a loosely draped weaving. Made from hand spun wool, and beaten with a mallet for hours, these weavings are then dyed repeatedly to achieve the right depth of color.
While soft and light absorbing, the surfaces also possess an inner luminescence. They effuse color that vibrates ever so slightly the way an Agnes Martin wash, seemingly one shade of paint, dances among small variants of hue. Martha’s smaller woven works, especially a group of midsize white weavings, exhibit a particularly magical light and surface, reflecting as well as radiating outwards.
Hanging freely, attached only at the top, the three layers imply movement; they enter our dimension. As a segmentation of space as well as of material and color, these layers create a lightness and interaction very different from that achieved by the layering of paint on a flat surface. The effect, a painting that is also a physical, varied and a breathing object, draws the viewer in as a painting does, while the fragmentation preserves space for imagination. We become a part of the mystery of light and space taking place.
Weavings are rare in the contemporary art world, so they immediately call to mind Anni Albers, one of many artists Martha has looked at. Yet these works make the definitive leap into this century, our current zeitgeist, dispensing with Bauhaus formalism, and make weaving a contemporary statement all the artist’s own.
Simone Weil, whose Gravity and Grace lends the title Metaxu, writes that labor is time entering the body. Weavings imply the passage of time: the time it has taken to make them and the time it takes to experience them. This in turn makes us aware of our own sense of time.
Weavings also call to mind Penelope, Odysseus’ wife, who weaves and re-weaves her unfolding experience. We feel that Martha’s works too contain metaphysical stories, as well as the more immediate story that is the interaction between the body and the material.
A large group of Rupture Drawings shares many of these traits. Made from a thick printmaking paper whose surfaces have been sanded, these are perhaps rougher works, more exposed to the viewer. Dyed on the verso, pigment placed into the folds colors the surface. The folding and rubbing and working of the surface is what creates the accidental “ruptures” within the surface or along the borders.
Martha explores what it feels like to be a body of matter in a world of physical matter. Her woven paintings open up questions, rather than closing on answers. In so doing, she creates a visual poetry that becomes a space for imagination.
Martha Tuttle was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1989, and raised in New York City. She graduated from Bard College in 2011, and received her MFA from The Yale School of Art in 2015. She has held residencies at the New Mexico School of Poetics in Ojo Caliente in 2012, and a residency in Grinnell, Iowa in 2011. She received a Josef Albers Foundation Travelling Fellowship as well as a Donald C. Gallup Research Fellowship from The Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscripts Library, Yale University, in 2014. She currently lives and works in New York