Richard Tuttle

September 7 - October 21, 2023
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Galerie Greta Meert is pleased to present Richard Tuttle’s sixth solo exhibition with the gallery, 18×24, introducing a series of wall pieces created over the past years in his studio in New Mexico.

In this new body of work, Tuttle moulds sheets of foam board into delicate painterly surfaces, the everydayness of this material transcending into a mirage-like abstraction. The artist begins by drawing on an 18 x 24-inch sheet of paper and derives the forms of each piece from shapes, gestures, and written words. These drawings are the starting point for the three-dimensional forms carved into foam and hung on the wall directly above the original drawing, the graphic obscuring its content. The underlying calligraphy of the drawing is finally revealed in sculptural form, which Tuttle embellishes with lyrical gestures in rich, often monochromatic color.


The resulting work combines the lightness of materials and forms with the pleasure of language and words to create an energetic, almost therapeutic effect. Tuttle likens the process of intentionally hiding text elements to an ancient Mayan cylinder pot, in which original incised drawings were covered up with gesso and painted. Tuttle refers to this process as a ‘methodology’ through which he explores the connection or intersection between the linguistic and visual worlds.


Intimate and idiosyncratic, Tuttle’s work is widely recognised for its ability to evoke poetry from ordinary, everyday materials and forms. Richard Tuttle’s approach to each new work is neither as a painting or a sculpture, but a synthesis of different media. His work has been characterised by the unconventional use of beauty as a fundamental means of inf luencing life itself. Over six decades, Tuttle has considered the myriad ways in which light, scale, color, and systems of meaning f low from his art into the world.


Richard Tuttle’s direct and apparently simple use of objects and gestures ref lects his meticulous attention to material and experience. Rejecting the rationality and precision of Minimalism, Tuttle embraces a handcrafted quality in his invention of forms that emphasise line, shape, color, and space as central concerns. He has resisted medium-specific labeling of his work, using the term drawing to encompass what could otherwise be termed sculpture, painting, collage, installation, and assemblage. Overturning traditional constraints of material, medium, and method, Tuttle’s works sensitise viewers to their own perceptive faculties. His working process, where one series gives rise to the next, is united by a consistent search to create objects that are expressions of their own totality.


Richard Tuttle (b. 1941, Rahway, NJ, USA) lives and works in New York City; Abiqui, New Mexico, and Mount Desert, Maine. Since his first exhibition at Betty Parsons gallery in 1965, his work has been the subject of over two hundred solo exhibitions internationally, and numerous monographic publications. In 2014, he realised a commission for the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern, which coincided with the retrospective solo exhibition I Don’t Know or The Weave of Textile Language at the Whitechapel Gallery in London. The comprehensive survey exhibition The Art of Richard Tuttle was organised by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2005 and travelled to the Whitney in New York, the Des Moines Art Center in Iowa, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and ended its journey at the MOCA, Los Angeles through 2007.


Other recent solo exhibitions include Introduction to Practice, M WOODS, Beijing, China (2019); Light and Colour, Mu.ZEE, Oostende, Belgium (2017); De Hallen, Haarlem, Netherlands (2017); Καλλίρροος kallirroos schön-fliessend, Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Switzerland (2016); al Cielo de Noche de Lima, Proyecto AMIL, Lima, and Museo de Arte de Lima (MALI), Peru (2016); Critical Edge, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA (2016); Wire Pieces, Pulitzer Arts Foundation, St Louis, USA (2015); Slide, Bergen Kunsthall, Norway (2012).