Archived project

All There in the Weave: Duality and Unity in the Art of Richard Tuttle

Goal: PhD thesis. Abstract: This investigation into the art of the seminal American Postminimalist Richard Tuttle (1941- ) responds to a 2014-15 survey show at the Tate Modern Turbine Hall and Whitechapel Gallery, London, which spotlighted the prevalence of textiles and related materials and techniques in his oeuvre and mode of exhibition. It focuses on questions about what duality and weaving mean within his field of reference, having identified that Tuttle’s work and speech display a pronounced tendency to engage with the dynamics of either/or. This is related in this thesis to his sense that he and his generation were “born into a broken world”. The task undertaken is to contextualise this statement while establishing a framework of analysis equipped to probe it. Homing in on structural relations, it draws on Tuttle’s autodidactic programme of study, through which – for longer than his fifty-five-year career – he has traversed time and space in pursuit of insight and understanding. In acknowledging his self-declared mysticism, it explores his spiritual beliefs through a synoptic engagement with Eastern traditions, specifically Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism. It theorises his work as a personally and socially motivated dialectic and weave-constructing response to the rupture he perceives in a polarised world. An historical and theoretical analysis of the at-once ancient, ubiquitous and cutting-edge domain of weaving and textiles uncovers mechanisms at play in Tuttle’s unity-seeking exercise, founded, as it is, on a deeply held belief in the efficacy of art.

Date: 1 September 2014 - 1 January 2019

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Susan Campbell
added an update
I have just completed a doctoral thesis titled ‘All There in the Weave: Duality and Unity in the Art of Richard Tuttle’. I am grateful to have been funded for the final year of the programme by the Irish Research Council, and for the first three years by a Postgraduate Studentship awarded by The University of Dublin, Trinity College. In 2016, I received a Thomas Dammann Junior Memorial Trust award, which financed an invaluable research trip to the United States.
 
Susan Campbell
added a research item
‘Line, textile and the art of Richard Tuttle’: Abstract My doctoral research is concerned with probing the oeuvre of the American artist Richard Tuttle through the lens of textiles. A practitioner whose career emerged as conventions relating to textiles were being renegotiated by such figures as Lenore Tawney and Magdalena Abakanowicz, his work parallels the rise of fibre art in a singular and influential way. That these materials have regularly appeared as components of his diverse output over the course of his 50-year career was spotlighted by a major two-site exhibition at the Tate and Whitechapel galleries in London in 2014-15. One of the original ordering mechanisms for securing basic human needs, textiles provide a tantalising framework through which to penetrate the complexity of Tuttle’s oeuvre, one in which the interplay of order and disorder gives rise to works that often look provisional, but are, in fact, carefully conceived. He incorporates textiles materially in unconventional ways, but they are also deployed metaphorically to unify the abstract and concrete through the very structure of the weave, the horizontal and vertical elements that together provide cohesion. Taking key examples of Tuttle’s work, this paper unpicks the weave, extracts line as a foundational element in his practice and shows how it permeates his art and manifests in recurring motifs and spatial dynamics. Determining what meanings textiles hold for this important artist is generating new insight into a material that is ancient in origin, ubiquitous, and current.
Susan Campbell
added a project goal
PhD thesis. Abstract: This investigation into the art of the seminal American Postminimalist Richard Tuttle (1941- ) responds to a 2014-15 survey show at the Tate Modern Turbine Hall and Whitechapel Gallery, London, which spotlighted the prevalence of textiles and related materials and techniques in his oeuvre and mode of exhibition. It focuses on questions about what duality and weaving mean within his field of reference, having identified that Tuttle’s work and speech display a pronounced tendency to engage with the dynamics of either/or. This is related in this thesis to his sense that he and his generation were “born into a broken world”. The task undertaken is to contextualise this statement while establishing a framework of analysis equipped to probe it. Homing in on structural relations, it draws on Tuttle’s autodidactic programme of study, through which – for longer than his fifty-five-year career – he has traversed time and space in pursuit of insight and understanding. In acknowledging his self-declared mysticism, it explores his spiritual beliefs through a synoptic engagement with Eastern traditions, specifically Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism. It theorises his work as a personally and socially motivated dialectic and weave-constructing response to the rupture he perceives in a polarised world. An historical and theoretical analysis of the at-once ancient, ubiquitous and cutting-edge domain of weaving and textiles uncovers mechanisms at play in Tuttle’s unity-seeking exercise, founded, as it is, on a deeply held belief in the efficacy of art.