Outlooks: Martha Tuttle

May 9 – November 9, 2020

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For the eighth year of its Outlooks program, in which Storm King Art Center invites a emerging to mid-career artist to present a large-scale, temporary outdoor project in the landscape, Storm King presents New York-based artist Martha Tuttle (b. 1989). In her work, Tuttle has been deeply influenced by the textures, colors, movement, and stillness of the natural world. Tuttle’s project unfolds across a large, rolling field at the southern end of Storm King’s property. Her work at Storm King asks visitors to consider, “How can we who have bodies develop a sense of intimacy with the vastness of land and its geologic time?” This marks Tuttle’s first major work outdoors, and her first solo museum presentation.

For her Outlooks project, Tuttle addresses mapping and cartography from a subjective, embodied, and human perspective, asking visitors to respond to cairns—created both from stones and boulders collected at Storm King, and unique glass casts of other Storm King stones—as a means by which to realize and become cognizant of their own place at Storm King, in the Hudson Valley, in the larger world and universe, and across geologic time.

Tuttle has located stones and glass elements across the nearly six-acre site, displaying some in stacked arrangements, or cairns. As Tuttle has said, “I’m drawn to the form and structure of cairns as a tender alternative to grid-based or topological systems of location.

They are impermanent, but effective markers, often communally created, indicating astrological cycles, portals into the spirit world, graves and contemporary hiking paths. They maintain their relationship with the scale of the human body.” Visitors are invited to walk through, sit upon, and interact with these stones and objects. They are accompanied by a written component distributed to viewers from a fabricated box, inviting viewers to consider themselves part of a vast “tectonic belonging.” One side of the map will comprise a drawing of the scattered cairns, like a constellation. On the other side, clusters of cairns will correspond to written mediations about vastness, location and the geologic scale of the Hudson Valley. 

Through programming across Storm King’s exhibition season, Tuttle has invited other artists to collaborate with her on place-based poetry readings, experimental movement, and performance within the boulders, geared to adults and children alike.

Photo credit: Mark Poucher and The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.