exhibition
Richard Tuttle, Untitled, 1968. Dye on canvas, irregular octagon, 156 cm, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Photo © NGC.
Richard Tuttle, Untitled, 1968. Dye on canvas, irregular octagon, 156 cm, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Photo © NGC.
Richard Tuttle’s Cloth Octagon series established him as one of the key proponents of Post-Minimalism, a movement that sought to dematerialize the art object. For the works in this series, Tuttle cut out octagons from canvas, balled up the shapes, soaked them in different pots of fabric dye – mint, rust, aquamarine and peach – and then hung them up loosely to dry. Despite their carefully considered construction, their wrinkled, unevenly pigmented surfaces render them less precious. Meant to be laid either directly on the floor or hung on the wall, the works have neither a top nor bottom, back nor front, and confound the issues of two- and three-dimensionality. The pinkish hue of Untitled shifts chromatically from rose to flesh-tone, making it appear vulnerable, if not slightly wounded, pinned to the wall.

Since his first one-man show at Betty Parsons Gallery in 1965, Richard Tuttle has carved a unique niche in the contemporary art world. Tuttle’s work focuses on process and on forms, often using the simplest of materials, and often at a small scale, to explore the nature of composition, balance, dimension, and space.

The work of Richard Tuttle takes on many forms. Throughout his career the artist has created sculptures, drawings, prints, installations, artist’s books, and very often a hybrid of several of these forms. While retaining a minimalist sensibility, Richard Tuttle has made use of a wide range of materials, including metal wire, dyed canvas, plywood, galvanized metal, paper, styrofoam, bubblewrap, plastic, glass, feathers, cardboard, tin cans, lightbulbs, ceramic, and masking tape.