“Richard Tuttle: 20 Pearls” opens Tuesday, 15 April, and continues through 31 May. This exhibition presents new painted reliefs, works on paper, framed multi-part wood constructions and the recreation of a 1973 free-standing sculpture. Together, these four bodies of work confound conventional categories of painting, drawing, and sculpture as they explore the physical parameters of the art object and the space around it.
The newest (2003) body of work entitled “20 Pearls” is a group of colorful shallow relief paintings, executed on museum board and foam core. These small-format paintings have differing shapes and irregular contours, emphasized by shadow play around their rough edges. The artist’s brushstrokes evidence his “hand” and make these his most lyrical and vibrant pictures in years.
Dating from 2001 is a series of 16 drawings entitled “Blue/Red Phase” all of which have in common a 6" hand-drawn graphite square delineated in its corners by four pin-points. This rectilinear structure is subtlety subverted by organic, abstract colored forms which confirm Tuttle’s distinctive eccentric geometry.
“Between Two Points” is the title of the suite of brightly colored, multi-part, layered wood constructions, each framed and recessed in a form-fitting backboard. These investigate the dynamic relationships of hard-edged geometry within the confines of the rectangular frame.
The historical “Yale Piece”, 1973, is a sculpture composed of two standing wood panels held parallel by 9 angled wood struts. Each of these cross elements is painted a different color with casein and pigment. It was commissioned for the exhibition “Options and Alternatives: Some Directions in Recent Art” curated by Klaus Kertess at the Yale University Art Gallery in 1973.
Richard Tuttle first showed at the Betty Parsons Gallery in 1965, since then he has had more than 150 gallery exhibitions and more than 50 museum exhibitions. His work is widely collected by institutions around the world. His first major American retrospective will open in July 2005 at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and will subsequently travel to the Whitney Museum of American Art. It goes to venues in Chicago, Dallas and Des Moines before concluding at The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles.