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


#Rupy C. Tut

November 30, 2023

Kate Mothes

“Searching for Ancestors” (2023), handmade pigments on linen, 60 x 40 inches. Photos by Philip Maisel. All images © Rupy C. Tut, courtesy of the artist and Jessica Silverman, San Francisco

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.

“These paintings express how our bodies feel in or out of place within ever-shifting environments,” Tut says in a statement. “As a mother, immigrant, and artist, I also intend to show glimpses of everyday life where doom and optimism hang in delicate balance. I created this work to highlight the human capacity to exist with hope, even on shaky ground.”

Out of Place is on view through January 7, 2024. Find more on the artist’s website and Instagram.


A painting of a woman reclining in a desert with her foot hovering over a prickly pear cactus. She wears a hat over her face and holds a bottle of something in her hand.

“A Drop in the Desert” (2023), handmade pigments on hemp paper, 37 x 50 inches

A detail of a painting showing a foot hovering over a prickly pear cactus.

Detail of “A Drop in the Desert” (2023)

A painting on hemp paper of a pregnant woman standing, facing the left, wearing bright orange. She is surrounded by a blue halo and around the halo, there is dense foliage.

“Portrait of a Woman” (2023), handmade pigments on hemp paper, 57 x 37 inches

A painting of abstracted treets and landscapes in vertical rows.

“All in a Day” (2023), handmade pigments on linen, 48 x 36 inches

A painting of a woman wearing green, reclining on a seat over a bed of yellow flowers. In the distance, a big vista of pink mountains stretches toward a yellow sky.

“Placing Self” (2023), handmade pigments on hemp paper, 37 x 50 inches

A detail of a painting, showing a woman wearing green, zoomed in on her hands that hold a single white feather.

Detail of “Placing Self” (2023)

#Rupy C. Tut


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