ARTIST RECEPTION “Platform: Martha Tuttle, the bear that longs to touch the ocean” at Rice University

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ARTIST RECEPTION “Platform: Martha Tuttle, the bear that longs to touch the ocean” at Rice University

March 1 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm


ON VIEW FEBRUARY 29 – JUNE 30, 2024: At Rice University on the lawn adjacent to MD Anderson Biological Laboratories, Martha Tuttle’s site-specific installation for the campus is inspired by the Ursa Major constellation. Composed of seven banners mounted on poles scaled to the average height of the human body, the installation is arranged on the lawn in a pattern that evokes the stars that form this asterism, also known as the Great Bear. Each banner displays a photograph of the Houston sky taken at the moment before dusk.

Combining celestial images with original writing, the work explores how stellar patterns have inspired and impacted fields such as mythology, navigation, astronomy, and astrology, and their cultural legacies. The poetic phrases, written by the artist as open questions, reflect diverse subjects including motherhood, protection, beauty, and banishment. Despite the vast spaces invoked by the open arrangement of the poles, the installation offers moments for intimacy and meditation.

Together, the texts and the images embody Tuttle’s interest in exploring the role astral constellations have played, both in past mythologies and in contemporary culture, “This project emerges from considering the mythical origins of the constellation Ursa Major from a speculative perspective,” Tuttle stated. “What was the experience of Callisto as she became a bear, and then stars? Who is she now? What happens if you consider a constellation with openness and a desire for a personal relationship?”


MD Anderson Biological Laboratories at Rice University
6100 Main St.
Houston, TX 77005 United States
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(713) 492-1014
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