Sally Tittmann


January 15 – February 15, 2014

William Holman Gallery is pleased to present our first solo exhibition of work by Sally Tittmann, a master of both drawing and sculpture.

The exhibition is centered around a trio of monumental sculptures made of commercial 4 x 4 wooden beams that she found in Brooklyn, along with a group of intimate wall sculptures and a series of beautifully rendered minimal drawings in pencil. These rescued wooden scraps are shaped by her hands and tools in a process that renowned sculptor Garth Evans deems “Redemption.”

Tittmann explains:

"Making art is for me simply a way of thinking, of following a visual thought through to its logical conclusion. Whether I am making tiny strokes with a pencil on paper, or joining large pieces of lumber with screws, I am using that particular medium as a language for me to explore and express those thoughts and emotions that cannot be accessed verbally."

The contrast of scale in the work is very much a part of this realization. The exhibition’s title piece Requiem is a 19 foot long wood construction with a spine supporting the wall, and wooden fingers reaching out to the floor. It is lyrical and tragic, gently bridging the space from the wall to the floor.

As Garth Evans notes in his catalogue essay, a Requiem is a mass, often sung, for the dead (Missa pro defunctis), however:

"These fingers seem to touch the floor the way a hand might touch the keys of a piano, coming to rest briefly, then lifting off again to soon touch down somewhere else. The fingers seem to be working to establish a rhythm, but they have not quite managed to get it together - the rhythm is unfamiliar and unpredictable. Perhaps these are not fingers at all, but legs; the legs of an intoxicated and uncoordinated chorus line.

Or yet again they could be the trunks of a herd of elephants drinking water. The implied movement suggests that these limbs or hands are also seeking to gather something….The reality is that there is no piano, no music, no dancing, no gathering and nothing to gather. There is this powerful presence, but what it makes one feel is something about absence, even perhaps about loss."

The wall sculptures, which she considers collages of painted wood, are assembled as if by random arrangement, yet upon closer inspection, one finds these works are studiously lacking in order. Composed after careful consideration, the viewer is offered a pattern of shapes, but not a solution to be readily understood.

Accompanying the sculpture work are eight beautiful pencil drawings that are as worked and intense as any studies on paper could be. They appear as sculptures in two dimensions, as objects of great mass, density and weight, but only through illusion. Often mistaken for ‘minimal’ these drawings reveal themselves to be exquisitely wrought and detailed. As Evans elaborates, “…One cannot locate or grasp these dark floating orbs.”

Active in the early 2000s with exhibitions at the Drawing Center and ACE Gallery, we are proud to host Tittmann’s long awaited return to full -time sculpture making and exhibiting after a break to focus on her family.


Sally Tittmann: Requiem