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Tilton Gallery opens exhibition of works by Martha Tuttle
Installation view. Courtesy the artist and Tilton Gallery, New York.

NEW YORK, NY.- Tilton Gallery is presenting Martha Tuttle: I long and seek after from January 18th through March 11th, 2018. This is her second solo exhibition with the gallery.

Martha Tuttle is a quiet voice with the ability to be a force while remaining gentle. In a society that seems to have lost these attributes, Tuttle seeks to create space for them with works that stand strong, despite, or perhaps because of the delicacy of her intimate assemblages.

Natural materials of wool, silk, and dye are worked by hand, each resulting piece having undergone an immaterial transfer of energy through Tuttle’s physical and meditative touch. The artist’s relationship to materiality is revealed further by the inclusion of small “stones,” both actual and cast polished metal, and of fabricated steel weights. These elements add another layer of visual incident and mark-making, to further open a dialogue of possibility and substance, light and weight. Overall, the unification of immaterial energy with material form results in constructed canvases and loosely hanging paintings that vibrate with a felt, unseen force.

“Although I consider my work to be within a painting dialogue, I use mostly textile techniques such as spinning, weaving and dyeing. I see these practices as allowing material variation, as well as touch (my own, a place’s, a process’s) to be recorded into material form. For me, this is a way to deal with the question of how we as bodies of matter can locate ourselves within a world that is also matter.

I work with wool, silk, metal, and dye because I’m interested in the fluidity (live-ness) of these materials. For example, the wool that I use is from the New Mexican Churro sheep, and the color of the fleece can change depending on something as subtle as the distance from one valley to another. I spin the wool I use by hand because it allows for the variation of line to be determined by the energy of my body. The wool is then woven, washed, and compressed to create surfaces of wavering density.

The free hanging pieces are hung with fabricated steel weights intended in their casting to point back to the liquidity of molten metal. For the stretched pieces, I wanted to find a way that my fragments could exist as stand-alone objects. I see the relationship between the stretched and the unstretched works as similar to how I understand variations between stillness and motion, silence and sound. Separate entities, but capable of forming a rhythm (relationship) when placed in a shared space. Finally, the title of this exhibition ‘I long and seek after’ is taken from a Sappho poem, translated by Ann Carson. I think often of Sappho’s fragments because of the way they engage with longing as it’s own kind of intimacy or psychic closeness, especially in terms of that which is incapable of ever being possessed.” -Martha Tuttle, January, 2018

Martha Tuttle was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1989. She graduated from Bard College in 2011 and received her MFA from The Yale School of Art in 2015. She is currently in residence at the SharpeWalentas Studio Program in Brooklyn, NY and has held residencies at the UCross Foundation in Clearmont, WY, A-Z West in Joshua Tree, CA, the New Mexico School of Poetics in Ojo Caliente, NM, and Grin City Collective in Grinnell, Iowa. In 2014, Martha 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. She currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

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