Since the 1960s Richard Tuttle has been constructing rudimentary, yet lyrically nuanced works that vacillate between minimalist and expressionist abstraction, and blend elements of painting, sculpture, drawing, and installation art. With an acute sensitivity toward materials and composition, Tuttle combines elements such as plywood, cardboard, string, wire, and Styrofoam with more conventional artistic mediums, creating meaning through the simplicity, subtlety, and ambiguity of his designs. The specific placement of his work within an exhibition space is often a component of his practice, further choreographing the viewer's encounter with the work.
Also deeply committed to poetry and text, Tuttle regards art as a form of language. This interest led to his first artist's book in the mid-1960s. Since then he has produced an eclectic body of works in this format, ranging from small commercially fabricated booklets to deluxe editions, numbering more than one hundred in all. In the early 1970s he began making prints and has since experimented with a variety of techniques, producing more than two hundred works, many as multipart projects.
Tuttle's passion for gesture and materials, particularly paper, coalesced in the production of this suite. Invited to collaborate with the innovative papermaking workshop, Dieu Donné Papermill, the artist produced translucent handmade paper watermarked with a diamond pattern. He then added a variety of delicate lines in a transfer process by laying down and removing pieces of thread he had dipped in pigment. These sheets of paper were attached to different colored mounts and encased in artist-designed frames with striped coloration. Although related, each unit differs in its marks and mood, underscored by titles referring to the times of day. Using the same deliberateness with which he designed the compositions, Tuttle makes specific recommendations as to their installation.
Publication excerpt from an essay by Judith Hecker, in Deborah Wye, Artists and Prints: Masterworks from The Museum of Modern Art, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2004, p. 255.