In Rupy C. Tut’s Dreamlike Paintings, Figures Fold Into Landscapes in a Struggle to Belong

In a couple of Rupy C. Tut’s ethereal and symbolic scenes, a cloaked woman merges with a rocky outcrop above a stream, while another reclines above a vast mountain range, holding a single feather. Comprising her solo exhibition Out of Place at Institute of Contemporary Art San Francisco, the Oakland-based artist’s paintings feature figures who coalesce with their surroundings and the passing of time.

Tut draws on her Punjab heritage and family history to compose dreamlike scenes in which ancestral figures struggle with taking up space, searching for a sense of belonging and home. The daughter of refugees and a first-generation immigrant, she counts her family’s history of movement, loss, and resilience as essential elements in her creative practice. Using handmade pigments on linen, the artist examines the desire to fit in and connect to one another.

Featured image: “All in a Day” (2023), handmade pigments on linen, 48 x 36 inches. Photos by Philip Maisel. All images © Rupy C. Tut, courtesy of the artist and Jessica Silverman, San Francisco

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