Entwined: Jennifer Reifsneider + Martha Tuttle

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Jennifer Reifsneider +

Martha Tuttle

The mission of Ucross Foundation is to foster the creative work of both accomplished and emerging artists by providing uninterrupted time, studio space, living accommodations, and the experience of Wyoming’s majestic High Plains, and to serve as a responsible steward of its historic 20,000-acre ranch. Through its residency program supporting individuals and groups from an array of disciplines - writers, visual artists, composers, performing artists and more - Ucross participates in the process by which a society is strengthened and emboldened by its most forward-looking arts. Visiting artists from around the world forge a small, intimate community in a setting that allows their creative endeavors to thrive. A public, non-profit organization sustained by the generosity of many donors, Ucross is home to a working ranch located at the confluence of three pristine creeks. Ucross believes that being a responsible steward of the land resembles being a dedicated artist, and vice versa. Both require vision, imagination, commitment, and the sustainable use of resources. Through all of its initiatives, Ucross strives to cast a reflection into the future from the cultural mirror of our lives and times.

Situated at the intersection of two highways and three creeks, Ucross embodies the notion of crossings. For our resident artists, that extends to vibrant, cross-disciplinary thinking. We are honored to present the exhibition, Entwined, featuring the art of Jennifer Reifsneider and Martha Tuttle, two contemporary visual artists whose work reflects a depth of multi-faceted engagement with the world. Tuttle, who works “between painting and textile,” grew up in rural New Mexico and is now based in New York City. Reifsneider has traveled the other direction, living and working in Montana after much time spent in New York and Los Angeles. Reifsneider identifies key interests as “multiplicity, unity and symmetry…I’m interested in how mathematical processes embedded in our biology shape our tacit understanding of the world.” For Tuttle, “the land (especially the tough/delicate/vast space of the west) continues to be my most enduring inspiration.” Their art intersects through their genius with varied elements including fabric, sculpture, paint, and fiber techniques such as weaving, spinning, crocheting, and knitting. We are grateful to the artists, both of whom have been Ucross residents, and to Yasmeen Siddiqui, also a past Ucross resident, who has written the exhibition essay. We greatly appreciate our many supporters in the region and beyond. Their enthusiasm for the Ucross Art Gallery is inspiring and deeply meaningful to us. We thank the Ucross Board of Trustees for their continued generosity and vision. It is a privilege to work on behalf of contemporary artists such as Reifsneider and Tuttle, as they lead us in finding fresh ways to encounter and interpret our complex world.

Sharon Dynak President, Ucross Foundation


Poles, crocheted cotton, 2019, 87 x 80 inches (detail), Jennifer Reifsneider I began to confuse the Earth with roses, 2019, Wool, linen, graphite, pigment, and quartz 63 x 46 x 2 inches (detail), Martha Tuttle


Broken Meridians, 2012, knit thread, rust, 12 x 161 x ½ inches (detail), Jennifer Reifsneider Like the way galaxies recede to the rim of space, 2019, Wool, linen, graphite, pigment, and quartz, 63 x 46 x 2 inches (detail), Martha Tuttle


Like the way galaxies recede to the rim of space, 2019, Wool, linen, graphite, pigment, and quartz 63 x 46 x 2 inches, Martha Tuttle



I began to confuse the Earth with roses, 2019, Wool, linen, graphite, pigment, and quartz 63 x 46 x 2 inches, Martha Tuttle

L to R: All the time at dawn I, 2018, Wool, silk pigment, and dye, 14 x 12 inches; All the time at dawn III, 2018, Wool silk, pigment, and dye, 14 x 12 inches; All the time at dawn II, 2018, Wool, silk, pigment, and dye, 14 x 12 inches

INTRODUCTION Yasmeen Siddiqui

Martha Tuttle and Jennifer Reifsneider measure the skin, the body, and the cosmos. Brought together in this exhibition, the materials they each grapple with are amplified: the undeniable potency of wool, cotton, dyes, paper, and metals. Each work in this exhibition tracks a single element from a simple source to tell stories that help us notice ways a material is inextricably contingent on and bound to what we both do and do not see. Reifsneider’s installation Broken Meridians (2012) demands counting. I get as far as the room’s corner where body forty-nine and fifty faceoff, but I continue on. Bodies thirty and sixty, counting left to right are erect, hardened. I lose count. I start again. With each recount, as I make my way to eighty-two, I come to accept that there is blood—conjured from rust. At twelve inches per segment, the footage is too long as a model of Reifsneider’s intestines and too short as a measure of the veins, arteries, and capillaries circulating oxygen through her. Roughly eighty-two feet, dissected into eighty-two parts, alludes to what? Could these markers be a metaphor for distances traveled—blood coursing 100,000 miles through bodies as we run towards landscapes? Tuttle’s Walking person (2018) measures into five sections a vista with a fulcrum suggested at the bottom edge. The pattern radiates outward. The framing is visible through translucent linen and suggested by ridges that shape cut pieces of wool sheeting. Tuttle has made puckered and mottled

surfaces with wool that starts as roving. These mappings take a radial form, perhaps of a rising sun guiding feet forward, one after the other, across terrain. This solar imagery—a halo—orients us to notice the force responsible for everything: life, death, time, space, matter, energy, night, and day. Tuttle’s “measurings” notice the stories of mystics and saints for their dedication to the meek and unassuming. They offer pathways to seeing us holistically, in synchronicity with intangible and visible energies. I began to confuse the Earth with roses (2019) is perhaps an allusion through title to St. Therese’s well-known prayer My Novena Rose Prayer, words often found alongside her image on holy cards. Sanctified in the twentieth century, this healer looked to the variety within nature for orientation towards god and fellow humans. Two frames while seeming to share the same height and width, including a gap shaped to hold a piece of quartz, are built differently according to distinct arrangements of interior angles. The structure is obscured by linen and suggested through wool. Color—always subtle for Tuttle raised in a southwestern landscape where scale and distance allow light to diffuse hue—is expressed. Pigment annunciates title. The back and forth between the material earthly world and the possibilities afforded through mathematical theory compel both artists in their ways of building metaphor. While Tuttle leans towards the mystical, referencing Euclidian geometric ideals

when constructing forms, Reifsneider explicitly states her interest in the non-Euclidian as a means of observing her own form and geological forms. The role of crochet, its potential as a modeling device, is fundamental to her study of space and the body in space. Pi Model (2019) connects Reifsneider to a broader movement of artists and mathematicians centered around the research and crochet work of Daina Taimina, associate professor (retired) of mathematics at Cornell University, who has built broad audiences for making objects that visualize the hyperbolic plane. This pattern and formula allow the theorization of surfaces, be they used in designing aerodynamic cars, printing skin for burn victims, or imagining the shape of the universe. Pi Model, brushed in copper, assumes form by increasing stitches at a constant ratio to grow the rows exponentially. Reifsneider decides upon a pattern and each of her allusions to the hyperbolic plane assume different shapes. Pi Model, orifice at center, opens outwards to tight stitches, a density of color and plane that while it has a finite edge, undulates in folds and waves around its circumference.

interpretations of experience. This described cosmos in earthly terms, anthropocentric and geological, are at play in Reifsneider’s Poles (2019) and Pendulum (Phi Study) (2018), two works that together put forward electrical and geomagnetic fields as they are felt by us. The North and South Poles slowly and continuously move over geological time, so slow it is not felt by an ordinary compass—in time the poles switch orientation. We find traces of this reversal in rocks so that we can track the motion of continents and ocean floors. Interactions of the sun, its winds and the streams of charged particles it expresses form magnetic fields that affect the poles and the shifting plates and waters. Pendulum is two things, a pattern tracking a weight that swings back and forth, displaced sideways until it rests, and this work is also a labyrinth, a path sewn on paper using metal and painted gold harkens to ancient societies, alchemy, worlds entwined with the cycles of the sun and moon. Both Reifsneider and Tuttle have made offerings: ways of seeing celestial and earthly phenomena as they permeate our consciousness.

Like the way galaxies recede to the rim of space (2019) is a triptych. Tuttle assembles three frames, three stones, and a pattern so extremely complex I resist a retreat to an airplane window, a look out across the west from above. Blackened fields stop me from this quick go-to association. This work, albeit attending to questions of mapping, is not the vantage point of the omnipresent—these are magnetic fields, energy fields, felt from the ground, feet planted, firmly attuned to geological and atmospheric, meteorological, and cosmological

Yasmeen Siddiqui is the founding director of Minerva Projects. In tandem with this work, Siddiqui writes and edits. Current projects include a book length manuscript on the subject of home and a series of essays considering authoritarianism through the works of artists and authors. She is co-editing the anthology The Storytellers of Art Histories (Intellect Books, 2021). When not living in the Hudson Valley, she spends intense bursts of time working as core faculty at the School of Visual Art at Chautauqua Institution in Western New York and the Master of Arts in Critical Craft Studies at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina.


Ruler (footstep), sewn thread, 2014, 60 ½ x 44 x ½ inches, Jennifer Reifsneider


Pi Model, cotton, copper, the first 1,000 digits of Pi, 2019, 15 x 14 ¾ x 2 ¾ incehs, Jennifer Reifsneider


Poles, crocheted cotton, 2019, 87 x 80 inches, Jennifer Reifsneider


My work explores the gap between knowledge

flourishes, has a unique capacity to model

and experience. Making art helps me to

fractal growth and non-Euclidian, hyperbolic

understand how a sense of identity emerges

space—the space of outer space. These

from this space of uncertainty, and quickly

convergences inspire my ongoing work.

fills it with words, expectations, or memories. The process is a critical examination of what I think is true. My recent work takes the form of diagrammatic sculptures. I often begin by thinking of my flesh-and-bone body like a planet in space. I map my latitudes, perimeters, rotations, and orbits. I translate these measurements through quiet but labor-intensive processes, such as knitting and crochet. I seek an elusive moment when what is exact in the mind becomes fluid in the hand, a place where “thoughts untie themselves,” as Matthieu Ricard says. Some of my research interests are multiplicity, unity, and symmetry. I’m interested in how mathematical processes embedded in our biology shape our tacit understanding of the world. I combine these ideas with influences from my childhood in rural Pennsylvania, where cycles of nature taught me about fluidity, repetition, growth, and decay. Fiber techniques are well suited to these studies, as they signify the body and the persistence of time, as well as domesticity and cutting-edge science. Crochet, with all of its modest functions and Victorian

Jennifer Reifsneider has exhibited her work in more than seventy solo and group exhibitions across the United States, recently in the Montana Triennial at the Yellowstone Art Museum, the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Center for Craft in America, and the Craft and Folk Art Museum. Her work is in private and public collections, including at the Museum of Modern Art / Franklin Furnace Artist Book Archive and the Yellowstone Art Museum. In 2013, she participated in High Desert Test Sites as part of the artist collective, Constellation Lab, and received an Investing in Artists grant from the Center for Cultural Innovation. In 2016, she returned her studio to her heart’s first home — Missoula, Montana. She completed her second Ucross residency in fall 2017 and received an Artist’s Innovation Award in 2020. The Artist’s Innovation Award is made possible by the Montana Arts Council, an agency of State Government. Reifsneider was raised on a working farm in rural southeastern Pennsylvania. She earned her BFA from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1995 and MFA from California State University, Long Beach in 2011.


I like most the part of my practice in which I start

way galaxies recede to the rim of space). These

to emotionally confuse a piece of cloth, an image

elements are generally stone (carved or found),

of skin, and a landscape. By using conditions of

or cast metal, and identifiable as elements from the

visual simplicity alongside labor-intensive and

body or the natural world. Spine to skin. Soft body

bodily processes, I am interested in the engagement

to mattered world.

between my body's matter and the organic and geologic matter that I work with.

The land (especially the tough/delicate/vast space of the west) continues to be my most enduring

Although I consider my work to be within a

inspiration. I believe though, that attention and care

painting discourse, I use mostly textile techniques

can be fostered by awareness of small or porous

such as spinning, weaving, and dyeing. I see these

moments as well as vast. Coming to a spring in

practices as allowing material variation, as well

which it is easier to notice individual blades of

as touch (my own, a place’s, a process’s) to be

grass because they are covered in mineral deposits.

recorded into material form. I spin the wool I use

The changing feeling of the sun on one’s face as it

by hand because it allows for the variation of line

moves behind a cloud. Looking towards the future, I

to be determined by the energy of my body, and

would like my practice to center in the study of the

the qualities of the fleece. I then weave, boil, and

potentially vital relationship between the noticed/

compress to create textile material of wavering

touched/cared for object and growing a practice

density and with memory of spun contour. My wool

of tenderness to our external world.

is sourced from Northern New Mexico — nearby to where I grew up — and the colors of the sheep determine the colors in my pieces. The translucent components in my works are fragments of silk or linen painted with ground stone or graphite, and dyed with plant dyes such as indigo or walnut. I construct loose topographies for the ink to pool, but more I love seeing how liquid determines its own path. The wool and silk are sewn together in geometric forms and then stretched, or sewn into free-hanging wall works. Most recently I’ve been incorporating sculptural elements into my paintings (such as the cast steel stones and collected quartz in Like the

Martha Tuttle (b. 1989, Santa Fe, NM) works between painting and textile. Her fabric-based wall works and sculptural interventions engage with the nuances of form and the hopeful fluidity between states of matter. She received a BA from Bard College in 2011, and an MFA from the Yale School of Art in 2015. Recent solo exhibitions include Baccante by the Sea (Geukens and De Vil, Belgium), Dances with Atoms (Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago), and I long and seek after (Jack Tilton Gallery, NYC). She has received residencies from, among others, The Rauschenberg Residency (2019) The SharpeWalentas Studio Residency (2017-2018), Ucross (2016), The Josef Albers Foundation, and The Beinecke Rare Books Library. She lives and works in Brooklyn, N.Y.

ENTWINED Jennifer Reifsneider + Martha Tuttle FEBRUARY 14 to MAY 15, 2020

SUNDAY, APRIL 19, 2020 Artist-led Fiber Workshop 12:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Opening Reception with Artists Talks 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Events are free and open to the public.

GALLERY HOURS M-F 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The workshop and reception are part of 2020 Celebrate the Arts, an annual community-wide arts event in Sheridan, Wyoming.

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