Martha Tuttle on SundayS – Artist Feature
I like most the part of my practice in which I start to emotionally confuse a piece of cloth, an image of skin, and a landscape. By using conditions of visual simplicity alongside labor-intensive and bodily processes, I am interested in the engagement between my body’s matter and the organic and geologic matter that I work with.
Although I consider my work to be within a painting discourse, 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. 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, and the qualities of the fleece. I then weave, boil, and compress to create textile material of wavering density and with memory of spun contour.
My wool is mostly sourced from Northern New Mexico- nearby to where I grew up- and the colors of the sheep determine the colors in my pieces.
The translucent components in my works are fragments of silk or linen painted with ground stone or graphite, and dyed with plant dyes such as indigo or walnut. I construct loose topographies for the ink to pool, but more I love seeing how liquid determines it’s own path.
The wool and silk are sewn together in geometric forms and then stretched, or sewn into free hanging wall works. Most recently I’ve been incorporating sculptural elements into both my paintings and separately, in installations (such as “Oracles”). These elements are generally stone (carved or found), or cast metal, and identifiable as elements from the body or the natural world.
The land (especially the tough/ delicate/ vast space of the west) continues to be my most enduring inspiration. I believe though, that attention and care can be fostered by awareness of small or porous moments as well as vast.
Coming to a spring in which it is easier to notice individual blades of grass because they are covered in mineral deposits. The changing feeling of the sun on one’s face as it moves behind a cloud. More than anything else, I would like my practice to center in the study of the potentially vital relationship between the noticed/ touched/ cared for object and growing a practice of tenderness to our external world.
Born in Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1989
Lives and works in Brooklyn, New York
2015 MFA, Yale School of Art, New Haven, CT
2011 BA, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NYMartha Tuttle