May 28, 2012

Richard Tuttle's Clay Multiples

 Tile, I, 2011; Durango earthenware clay with black slip, silicon and painted white wooden frame, 6 5/8 x 6 5/8 x 1 3/4 in. Series of 12 unique works.

When we think of an edition of sculpture, or of prints, we imagine a group of works that are exactly the same. In sculpture the artist makes a mold and from that a number of copies are made; in printmaking there's a plate which is reproduced. When I used to make drypoint prints, the master printer I worked with, Anthony Kirk, was very careful that each print in an edition of 30 was perfect and perfectly alike.

 Tile, VI, 2011; Durango low fire clay with black slip, Nichrome wire and painted white wooden frame, 13 5/8 x 13 3/4 x 3 in. Series of 11 unique works.

In his usual inimitable fashion, Richard Tuttle achieved something different with these clay tiles, which were recently on exhibit at Gemini G.E.L. at Joni Weyl. Working with ceramist Stephanie Wagner, who provided him with 1/2 inch tiles, Tuttle developed six different compositions.

 Tile, VI, variation from the catalog.

Because each piece was worked and painted by hand, there are variations from one to another in a series. I photographed the first image of Tile, VI, above at the gallery, and you can see how it's a little different from the one I photographed from the catalog. Within the parameters of each idea is room for play.

 Tile, II, 2011; Durango earthenware clay with black slip and painted white wooden frame, 7 5/8 x 7 5/8 in. Series of 20 unique works.

As with all of Tuttle's small works, these clay pieces have a vitality and freshness that is very appealing,  which is enhanced by their intimate size.

Tile, IV, 2011; Durango earthenware clay with black slip, copper wire and painted white wooden frame, 8 5/8 x 8 5/8 x 2 1/4 in. Series of 17 unique works.

The shapes lead the imagination onward, as here with little raised flecks on a crescent moon, and a wire leaping from it. I always feel inspired by Tuttle's work; he shows me a way forward with modest art that is surprising and deep.


  1. Oh Richard Tuttle, you undo me every time! What magic his markmaking brings about. I love this series. Thank you so much for posting these images Altoon. They made my night.

  2. me too, took a lot from that show / simple & rich.

  3. I'm so glad you both liked these pieces.

  4. just amazing..thanks for posting altoon-Suzan