Thursday, September 12, 2013

Kevin Tuttle at the Martin Art Gallery, 2012

Altar to an Unknown God, 1989-91

Kevin Tuttle's Comings and Goings ran from August 29 to September 23, 2012 at Muhlenberg College's Martin Art Gallery. Below is the artist statement that accompanied the show.

Soto! Explore thyself!
Therein thyself shalt find
The "Undiscovered Continent"—
No Settler had the Mind.

-- Emily Dickinson

The work presented here is selected from about a 30 year time frame. It chronicles a journey from decorative, to reductive formal, to subject-narrative driven work. However, even in the decorative work there was the beginning of subject matters that would unwittingly resurface over the span of many years.

There are a number of influences in the work from literature and poetry; and from Greek/Roman and Chinese/Japanese painting and sculpture to contemporary artists such as Christopher Cairns, Jonathan Silver, and Anselm Kiefer. I have tried to have no fear of influence. I have been guided by statements from other artists such as Goethe and Matisse who advocate for the possibility of being influenced. In particular I’ve been guided by Matisse who felt that an avoidance of influence is an act of insincerity. I also have taken courage from his ability to periodically re-form himself especially during the period of 1915-1917. While one of the preeminent artists in the world, and at the age of 45-47, he undertook a belated response to cubism and also reaffirmed his much earlier statement and heritage, “if Cezanne is right, then I am right.”

But possibly the primary linkage between the work shown here is not a development of ideas from one point to another. Rather, it is that due to both scale and general homeliness there likely is no future for these works. So, thank you to the Martin Art Gallery for the opportunity to see the work together for the first and last time.

A Death blow is a Life blow to Some
Who till they died, did not alive become—
Who had they lived, had died but when
They died, Vitality begun.

-- Emily Dickinson

Click on photos to enlarge.

Le Tombeau de Baudelaire

Voyage to Cythera

Blackwater - Exsanguination

Uselessys, 1988-89

        Palatine Hill (detail, Uselessys), oil on panel, 12" x 8", 1994

In Light Of (Interior)


Almost Aquamarine, 1985
Death of Artists

In Light Of (Interior)

Photos courtesy of Kevin Tuttle.

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