I Stand in the Center of the Good: Interviews with Contemporary Native American Artists

By Lawrence Abbott | Go to book overview

Frank Tuttle

Yuki-Wailaki-Koncow Maidu

Frank Tuttle is a thoroughly modern painter whose work is as shaped by tradition as it is constantly seeking new ways of expression. Not reluctant to experiment with imagery and materials, Tuttle explores the meaning of tradition in contemporary social and artistic contexts. He has written: "I enjoy a particular thrill in being able to contrast and compare fragments of the old and new order. There exists a continuum of the tradition of the vision quest in which the new visions, as works of art, are informed by both Indian traditions and the modern art traditions."' 1

Tuttle's work searches for the essences of the traditions and ceremonies of the people from Northern and central California. Paintings like Shaking All 'Round and The Abundance of Things (both 1983), for example, with a delicacy of execution and sense of color and movement, are visual analogues of Tuttle's experience of ceremony and ritual. About The Abundance of Things he has said: "This image reminds me of the time when our people should gather together in appointed places to offer prayers, to give dances for a world in constant motion. Such events mark time and celebrate the abundance of things." 2 Tuttle's personal memory intersects with communal memory. Newer works like In Good Faith ( 1989) and Life Is at the Moving Center I and II (both 1990)

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