Richard Tuttle's artwork subverts the traditions of Modernism and Minimalism. His small and restrained compositions often engage with scale and alternative systems of display. By refusing the limitations of Minimalism, Tuttle creates a dialogue that focuses on the importance of craft and favours humble materials such as wire, paper, cloth, and wood.Read More
In 1970, Tuttle created 'Paper Octagonals' (1970), 12 works made from paper shapes cut from a template and glued to a wall. When displayed, Tuttle intended 'Paper Octagonals' to disappear into the wall as much as possible.
Despite the artwork's thin material and lack of colour, the 'Paper Octagonals' are oddly present due to their misshapen composition. Tuttle's delicate work is neither painting nor sculpture. Instead, the artwork rests between the two, creating a new and radical space in contemporary art.
'Wire Pieces' (1971—1972) is a series of work made from hand-drawn lines, wire, and shadows. Tuttle uses the wire to extend the form of his pencil drawings, and the wire's shadow to expand the composition of the work even further.
By using alternative mediums, Tuttle creates a work that exists in three dimensions. His imaginative use of modest materials creates playful objects that promote the idea-based nature of his practice.
From the late 1980s onwards, Tuttle began to increase the scale of his work. While he was working in Switzerland in the early 1990s, Tuttle worked on a number of large-scale abstract works for Kunsthaus Zug. Replace the Abstract Picture Plane IV (1996—1999) is one of four artworks Tuttle made specifically for the museum, consisting of 40 pieces of asymmetrically placed plywood painted in vivid colours. Tuttle hoped his handmade objects would redefine the space and signify a new age of collaboration between artists and museums.