On view March 18 – April 30, 2022
“A need to tell and hear stories is essential to our species – second in necessity apparently after nourishment and before love and shelter. Millions survive without love or home, almost none in silence; the opposite of silence leads quickly to the narrative. The sound of story is the dominant sound of our lives, from the small accounts of our day’s events to the vast incommunicable constructs of psychopaths” – Edward Reynolds Price.
Storytelling, the social and cultural activity of sharing stories, is an oral form of language, predating the written word, associated with the practices and values essential to developing one’s identity.
Much in how our ancestors pass down anecdotes to shape the community’s morals and educate younger generations, my practice mimics these verbal processes. The repetition I put forth develops into a physical myth, adding a multitude of layers to the dominant stories surrounding my work.
I make sculptures that depict animals, figures, phenomena, and everyday objects. They are always recognizable but become elusive as I continue to reinterpret each piece. In this way, my sculptures act as characters in oral history: they transform as they are retold. While these objects remain familiar and are easily identifiable, the combinations of works remain ambiguous. They echo the layered, nonlinear structure of memory as it is uncovered through storytelling.
Oral traditions transmit history from memory to the next set of knowledge keepers—starting with personal narratives that become storied, and eventually, the myths that make up our shared identities. The essence of history is still present, but the form it has taken on has shifted. I use this serial method to explore how the physical state and conceptual meanings change over time.
Wade Tullier (b.1988, Baton Rouge, Louisiana) is a Detroit-based visual artist working primarily in ceramics and sculpture. His work and process are heavily influenced by storytelling and being raised within the landscape of southern Louisiana. He holds a BFA from Louisiana State University and an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art. Tullier has exhibited nationally and internationally, with recent and upcoming shows in New York, Miami, Chicago, Detroit, Reykjavik, and Munich.
Visit Wade Tullier’s website.
Wade Tullier is a recipient of The Sculpture Center’s Revealed Early Career Exhibition Series.