Chicago

Martha Tuttle, Milestone, 2019, wool, linen, pigment, overall 78 × 86".

Martha Tuttle, Milestone, 2019, wool, linen, pigment, overall 78 × 86".

Martha Tuttle

Rhona Hoffman Gallery

In her first solo show at Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Martha Tuttle went back to the roots of materialist philosophy. For “The Dance of Atoms,” the artist framed her ambitions with the words of Lucretius, the Roman student of Epicurean philosophy who converted its tenets of atomistic materialism into poetry in the first century BCE. In her work, Tuttle replaces each of the traditionally essential elements of easel painting—stretcher, canvas, and pigment—with a thoughtfully selected doppelgänger. Here, seven rectangular pieces, each thirty-two inches tall by twenty-five inches wide, occupied two long walls. In each, combinations of wool, linen, and wood passed as painted abstractions, at least momentarily. Arrangement 1, 2019, sets a large field of hand-spun wool against smaller quadrilaterals of translucent linen. A stretcher bar, darkened with a blowtorch, runs behind them diagonally, from

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