Richard Tuttle: Prints
Hardcover, 144 pages. 172 color illustrations
Published by Bowdoin College Museum of Art, 201
Read a review by Crown Point staff member Carleigh Koger:
Richard Tuttle: Prints was published by J. Richard Tuttle is a post-minimalist artist who works in a range of media including sculpture, drawing, printmaking, and painting. He is known for creating abstract geometric art in a subtle and playful style. The catalog contains extensive information about Tuttle’s prints, chronicling a selection of 38 projects dating from 1963 through 2013. Five of the projects were published by Crown Point Press. The editor of the book, Christina von Rotenhan, has written summaries of the printmaking processes used in each project, as well as listing publishers, printers, print editions and dimensions. The catalog also features short essays by James Cuno, Chris Dercon, and Susan Tallman. They discuss Tuttle’s poetic and philosophical approach to his work while exploring themes of movement, time, and space.
Tuttle experiments with nearly every method of printmaking, including monotype, intaglio, screenprinting, woodcut, and lithography, and he often adds mixed media or sculptural elements to the prints. As an example of one of his more unique projects, Renaissance Unframed (1995) is a series of 25 monotypes with pigmented wax on white unfinished weaver’s cloth, accompanied by a bronze sculpture. The heavy and dark sculpture acts as an antithesis to the light and colorful cloth which, in an exhibition, Tuttle mounted on the wall by folding and pinning it in loose forms. Illustrated in the catalog is print no. 10, whose top corners delicately drape over the sheet as shadows play across the rippling fabric. Not only is the material full of movement, but the pigmented wax explodes with color.
A sense of humor is apparent throughout Tuttle’s work, especially in his project Purple, published by Crown Point Press in 2001. Despite the title, the six of the seven prints in the portfolio are essentially green. In these works, Tuttle added a tiny amount of purple to the green ink, and the purple, although unseen, creates a palette of light to deep green. One image, No. 7 (absence) is yellow in color.
Tuttle’s prints are simple, but full of life. Some have exact lines as if from a stencil, while others are more painterly and carefree, like his 2003 project Censorship. Named after the days of the week, the seven lithographs have watercolor qualities with colorful wash-like brushstrokes and splotchy pools of ink. The print Friday has streaks of red ink billowing vertically in variations of density. Unlike many of Tuttle’s other prints where white paper dominates the space, the red ink almost covers the entire sheet. In contrast, the prints that comprise Mandevilla (1998) have rectangular shapes in fixed positions on the paper. The floating geometric forms resemble a simple game of Tetris as the pieces fall strategically into their places. Some of the shapes overlap one another, and the translucence of the colors reveals lines intersecting underneath them.
The catalog reveals the complexity of the artist’s creative method and his ability to tackle new and exciting concepts. Richard Tuttle is constantly questioning and examining different ideas, which are reflected in his diverse range of works. His lively collection of prints converse with one another in balanced harmony.