First presented at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in 2016, The Critical Edge
follows two other major exhibitions of Tuttle’s work. In 2014, The Whitechapel Gallery surveyed the artist’s career from the 1960s to today and Tate Modern commissioned Tuttle’s largest textile sculpture to date for its iconic Turbine Hall.
A collector of textiles from around the world, Tuttle has focused and expanded his knowledge beyond his collection to understanding the intrinsic qualities of the material. The Critical Edge features a series of seven recent works assembled from layers of vibrant fabric purchased in New York and Maine. Sewn by hand and with a sewing machine, the combined cloths incorporate wood and nails. The delicate works continue Tuttle’s exploration of materiality, space, and three-dimensionality. “I’ve been very interested in how space, defined as two-dimensional (a plane, like a painting), can move into form, three dimensions,” Richard Tuttle states in the catalogue for 26, an exhibition presented at Pace New York in 2016 that spanned fifty years of the artist’s career.
Together with geometric abstraction, the embroidery of each fabric piece blurs the line between background and structure while the subtle falling of the cloth seems to breathe life into the works, hereby stimulating the senses and evoking ideas of sensuality. Without specific reference points, Tuttle’s seductive investigations of line, volume, colour and form are imbued with a sense of spirituality and informed by a deep intellectual curiosity. As reflected in the title of the exhibition, the works’ ambition is to transcend boundaries and invite viewers to contemplation.