It is certainly the season for hot chocolate, crisp autumn walks, Christmas adverts and apparently the American artist Richard Tuttle. He is currently enjoying pride of place in the Tate Modern Turbine hall and has a display at the exciting and vibrant Whitechapel gallery.
I have found it difficult to warm to Tuttle’s turbine hall instillation. In the evening when the turbine hall gets darker the dramatic lighting that illuminates it comes into play and the vibrant colours of the fabrics do pop against the greys and blacks of the hall. I also really rather like the shadows in the folds of the red fabric on the side you see immediately as you walk in. However it's a work I have found hard to love or understand.
In an attempt to appreciate it on another level I decided to pop in to the Whitechapel gallery's display. Various people had told me that it had helped them to see him working on a scale that he was more familiar with and that they preferred this.
The exhibition entitled I Don't Know The Weave of Textile Language addresses the artists work using fabric. There were a couple of pieces that I particularly liked. The work which showed a wooden frame with white fabric falling off it which was reminiscent of a canvas on the wall from which the fabric has become detached made me think twice. It reminded me of the importance of textiles in so much of the art produced after the early 1500s. It provides the very base that supports some of the worlds most loved masterpieces; where would Gainsborough's Blue Boy be without the very fabric that supports him?
There were also two very beautiful works from 2008 which involved bands of fabric which had been dyed and then suspended using silver rings hung on nails into the wall. The edges of the fabric has been left exposed and raw with strands of thread left to remind us of the very structure of the sheet we are looking at. On one of the panels of fabric there was this vibrant and crispy splash of a neon yellow paint which draws you in and forces you to examine the way that the ink has bled into the fabric.
The works I liked best where those that made you really look at fabric, a material we take for granted, and to see the beauty in its simplicity. To see how it is constructed and the different ways it can be used and treated.
This said I did struggle with the exhibition, the artist and the gallery force you to take the initiative and leaves you to take from it what you will. I encourage you to go and do just that, the exhibition runs until the 14th December.