Martha Tuttle: Wild irises grow in the mountains
Opening September 15th, 2021
Do you remember the trees?
I remember when it was covered with trees. I remember when the grasses were taller than me.
And yellow, golden.
Yeah, and flowering, and then there was…not lamb’s ear, but purslane
And you could eat it.
And I remember, it was really snowy, and really cold.
Yes, the cold.
And I remember not being able to leave the house, because it was so muddy.
And having so many boots for mud.
And each one, weighed like twenty pounds
But those memories… it feels like a second ago, but it was already twenty-eight, thirty years ago.
Doesn’t seem like so much time to have so much change.
- Fragment of conversation taken from Drought
How long is lasting long enough? How do we experience climate shift as something that happens to us? What do we do with our grief?
Tilton Gallery is delighted to announce the opening on Wednesday, September 15, 2021 of Wild irises grow in the mountains, an exhibition of new work by Martha Tuttle. There will be a reception for the artist from noon till 8 pm.
In her third solo exhibition with Tilton Gallery, the artist will present a group of ten large paintings and a video. An interplay between malleability and permanence, fragility and strength permeate the exhibition, ranging from perceptions about the vulnerability of traditional dyes and textile practices to the grief and mourning that strive to encounter the magnitude of climate change.
“I think that the question of how to care throughout change—even if that change is distressful—is one that can be seen as symbolized by the object and extending into the realms of the body and the earth,” the artist writes. “How do we learn to create a culture of care that moves with the needs of that which we care for? How do we disentangle ideas of health from desires for infinite usability and production?”
Ten wall works continue the artist’s practice of putting textile elements into delicate equilibrium. To make the paintings, Tuttle spins and weaves wool to make a sculptural material that she sews into compositions with silk, which are in turn painted with stone pigments and plant dyes. The paintings are then stretched around aluminum and wood stretchers. For the artist, this incorporation of the industrial avoids a strict separation between the supposedly organic and inorganic.
Drought (2021), the artist’s first video, expands her techniques of juxtaposition. The work overlays conversations between the artist and her mother—poet Mei Mei Berssenbrugge— about their experiences of developing drought with footage of the North American Southwest.
Martha Tuttle was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1989. She received her BA from Bard College in 2011 and her MFA from The Yale School of Art in 2015. She has held residencies at the Rauschenberg Foundation in Captiva, FL, 2019, the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program in Brooklyn, NY and A-Z West in Joshua Tree, CA, both 2017, and the UCross Foundation in Clearmont, WY, 2016. In 2014, Tuttle 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 has shown widely in the U.S. and internationally, including in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston and Santa Fe as well as in Brussels, Belgium, Turin, Italy and Tokyo, Japan. Tuttle is represented by Tilton Gallery in New York where she had exhibitions in 2016 and 2018 and by Rhona Hoffman Gallery in Chicago, where she had a solo show in 2019. She currently has an outdoor sculpture exhibition, Outlooks: Martha Tuttle, at Storm King Art Center, open through November 8, 2021. Her work is in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA and the University of San Diego, CA. Tuttle lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.