Richard Tuttle began making sculptures in a series of three inch paper cubes, folded and incised that fit into the palm of your hand. These works were followed in 1964 until 1966 by reliefs made from plywood which was modeled and painted in muted monochromatic colors. The works were made from thin sheets of wood and tiny nails. They followed the shapes of paper templates that had been tacked to the wall or floor. The works have been referred to as "ideograms" or "pictographs" because they seem to be quasi-symbolic short framed references to real images or experiences: Titles such as Shadows, Water, Fire, and Bridge allude to these objects.
Tuttle's work senstizes our ability to percieve and visualize. "On the other hand, nature admires the simple-minded. Nature's admiration is exactly the opposite of human admiration. Some of the works of art that are necessary to me are those that praise my simplicity...Simplicity and complexity are virtually the same thing" (R. Tuttle in conversation, 1975).