To coincide with Bernard Jacobson Gallery's retrospective devoted to William Tillyer's Watercolours, 21 Publishing are releasing this 271 page hardcover book surveying the Tillyer's watercolour production. With 224 full colour illustrations and a text by New York Poet and art writer John Yau.
"However beautiful they are, and many of them are extremely beautiful, almost painfully so, Tillyer’s watercolours never lead us away from the real world in favour of an Edenic vision. Rather, they bring us back to the here and now, to water and dirt, the basis of our existence… The artist’s re-envisioning of the characteristic qualities of watercolour is a unique contribution to both contemporary art and the tradition of English watercolour, as exemplified by artists such as John Sell Cotman, Alexander Cozens, John Constable and J.M.W. Turner." John Yau, 2010
A fully illustrated catalogue with a text by Ben Wiedel-Kaufmann, placing the 'The Flatford Chart Paintings with the smaller Cloud Studies' within the context of Tillyer’s work and evolving philosophy has been released.
To coincide with the exhibition opening the Bernard Jacobson Gallery have published a catalogue of 'The Cadiz Caprices' with essays on the work 'The Painter As Doubting Thomas' by John Yau and 'William Tillyer: Painting As Corpus, An Anatomy Lesson' by Saul Ostrow.
"The Cadiz Caprices are the greatest abstract paintings about Spain by a non-Spaniard since Robert Motherwell began working on his 'Elegies for The Spanish Republic' around 70 years ago" John Yau
"Tillyer has been engaged in a continuous process of de-familiarization and re-education because he understands that only by risk taking and experimentation can art's forms be made to respond conceptually as well as materially to our world of ever changing experiences and perceptions?
In effect 'The Cadiz Caprices' are the embodiment of a non-linear narrative long sought after by Tillyer. They succeed in undermining our expectations not of painting, but the very act of looking and knowing" Saul Ostrow
A large pull-out reproduction of Skydancer, the 733 x 248 x 10.5 cm signature work from the exhibition is available as an insert.
William Tillyer's essay "Driving through history, driving the future" centered around the painting of the 'Hardware: Variations on a Theme of Encounter' series, begun in 2000.
'Song of myself
I celebrate myself
And what I assume you shall assume
For every atom belongs to me as good as belongs to you' Walt Whitman
William Tillyer's work in the media of printmaking, collage, watercolor, and oil painting has been shown frequently in London and New York over the last three decades. By looking at his output as a whole, as writer and critic Norbert Lynton does here in the first comprehensive survey of Tillyer's work, we begin to understand its underlying consistency and enjoy its inventiveness. It becomes apparent in this book that his thoughts are about how art communicates as much as what it communicates.
Hardcover: 176 pages
146 color and 33 B&W images.
8 x 12.7 in.
Catalogue to the 1996 retrospective at the Cleveland Gallery Middlesbrough and the Whitworth gallery Manchester.
"Given the philosophical cast of his imagination it is not surprising that Tillyer should for a while have experimented with a kind of object based conceptualism, making, in the mid 1960's, a number of provocative works utilizing banal or unremarkable ready-mage materials. Each of these asks questions about the relation of what is seen to what is known, subverts familiar certainties by a dead-pan failure to meet behavioral expectations, and refers to wittily in one way or another to artistic conventions" Mel Gooding
Of this show Tim Marlow on BBC Radio 4 said "Tillyer is set to run and run"
"I seem to have been having an American year", says the painter William Tillyer. And this is true because he is currently exhibiting two series of paintings, both inspired by artifacts from the USA. One is a series of watercolours examining Frank Lloyd Wright's famous house, Fallingwater, in the Catskill mountains. The other was set off by the sight of a collection of American Indian dolls - once owned by the Hollywood actor John Wayne..." Martyn Gayford
"...Kachina dolls or figures are eclectic. They bring together many visual and deeply held conceptual ideas, which span the so-called real and spiritual worlds."William Tillyer
Catalogue of the 'Fearful Symmetries' series of paintings, with an essay by Martyn Gayford (first published in 'Modern Painters' magazine in spring 1993.
"Martyn Gayford travelled north to visit William Tillyer. Surrounded by the wild landscape of Yorkshire, they discussed the essential qualities and forms of nature in Tillyer's own work and in 'The Great Age of British Watercolours' exhibition, showing at Royal Academy of Art, London, and at The National Gallery of Art, Washington, in 1993.
" ...'I find it difficult when trying to create an area of chaos, because I immediatly start trying to put an edge on something, and making order' admits Tillyer in a statement which amounts to my best piece of evidence that he is a classicist through and through. The exquistie beaty of Tillyer's paint surfaces, the rich frothing confusion he elicits where heavily loaded brushworks interact, reveals an openness to chance and the unexpected, but even in such chaos an order is soon imposed, a balance achieved" David Cohen
"...The last thing we notice about the new paintings is how economical they are. The address us with vigour and drama, and also a sort of gravity. They almost overwhelm us with the energy of their forms and colours. Only when we think about them, recollecting in tranquility, can we understand Tillyer's highly intelligent marshaling of his means..."
Norbert Lynton in his introductory esssay to this catalogue.
The great strength of Tillyer's watercolours is that although they are unequivocally modern, they are the kind of 'pure' works of art, which nonetheless, as Fry put it in his last lectures, 'set up vibrations in the deeper layers of our consciousness and... these vibrations radiate in many directions, lighting up a vast system of correlated feelings and ideas.' Tillyer's watercolours invite us to to share with him a tentative and tremulous sensation of physical and spiritual oneness with the natural world.
...beautiful in themselves, Tillyer's gentle washes of colour, true at once to nature and to materials, seem also to imply a wider meaning: they remind us that if we believe or highest aesthetic emotions and perceptions, have no relationship to the world of nature, then inevitably we will be more inclined to injure and exploit the natural world (and, indeed each other) than if we perceive of ourselves as being part of it. Peter Fuller, Bath, March 1987
A reprinted version of catalogue for 'The Victorian Canvases' exhibition at Melbourne University Gallery in 1982. The show featured works created whilst Wiliam Tillyer was Artist In Residence at the University.
This catalogue is now available with an additional text by Norbrt Lynton, along with Tim Fairfax's original 1981 text. Re-printed on the occasion of the exhibition 'The Victorian Canvases' November 2004
William Tillyer's idiosyncratic and remarkably prescient study of a now vanished form. This photographic essay takes as it's motif the milk stands of the North York Moors National Park, from which a farms milk churns were collected daily.
With a forward by William Packer and text from the artist.
"As Part of it's system the milk stand is placed in the landscape at the most convenient point. At the farm gate, the side of the lane, or perhaps a crossroads; wherever: the milk stand becomes a known point for the collection of milk, a landmark, a place at which to pause, exchange or gossip. Well worn paths run to and from the stand. These and the immediate surrounding space are commanded by the milk stand, and are defended by it's presence." William Tillyer
We take the landscape, through which we move and act our lives, which affects us so directly, conditioning our attitudes and qualifying our actions, very much for granted; as much for granted, in fact as the weather..."William Packer
The catalogue of 'A Furnished Landscape" a portfolio of 25 prints including 3 woodcuts, 5 lithographs, 8 etchings and 9 screenprints, published as an edition of 90.
"This portfolio must be one of the most all-embracing graphic explorations on a theme of landscape ever made by a single artist, for in addition to etching and screenprinting, Tillyer added both lithography and woodcut to his repertoire, thus embracing all four graphic techniques..."
"Part of the poetry of these 25 prints lies in appreciating the appropriateness with which a particular technique has been used to convey a specific expeience: part of it is the ambiguity and understatement by means of which the artist allows the spectator to indulge his own imaginative flights of fancy in interpreting the marks before him."
"...hanging valleys, waterfalls and other features of the sublime are in the minority in Tillyer's choice of subject matter which is, for the most part, low key and undramatic. A trough under rain, a bright cloud, a cloche, a seat, a noticeboard, gate or path, are the undemonstrative features in an essentially English, and therefore man-made landscape." Pat Gilmour from the catalogue introduction.