Driving Through History: Driving the Future

By William Tillyer

"Song of myself I celebrate myself And what I assume you shall assume For every atom belongs to me as good belongs to you" Walt Whitman


Paint reacting to its support more than paint being an expressive mark or gesture and more than paint being a surrogate for some figuration or narrative I wanted the new pieces I had worked on over the past months to treat paint as object. 'Two Objects'

These new works were to be 'Variations on a Theme of Encounter'

The surfaces and structures of the support were to be as a piece of hardware, and as an obstacle to the paint as a protest. 'Obstacles and Protests', were to be minimal requirements of these pieces. Gesture and surrogacy would only qualify this primary expression.


I have wanted to visit the far south west of Ireland for some time, and now I have a chance invitation to stay in a remote studio/house, in a restored pre famine village in County Kerry. The trip to Ireland I feel sure will only add more certainty to what are now 'Bedrock' beliefs. 'Beauty and the Beast', 'Jeckyl and Hyde', these are all guises with which I feel familiar, a split personality, always being attracted to the impossibly opposite. As I am about to leave I take a last look around the Studio and I realize, as on so many occasions, that I am trying to meld incompatible forces. Endeavouring to have them live together almost like the archetypal bad marriage. The will to enforce a coexistence is I feel a bottom line for most artists whatever their field of study. To create a harmony, a synthesis of apparently diverging and opposing forces, the need and will to do this is almost 'Lemming like' but given that I have a strong belief in the compatibility of all things, the interdependence of all things, then it is an acceptable way for me to proceed. This is a reductionists view: that there is a common factor, a relationship in each and every object leads me to a belief that the world should not be a divided place of ' The Natural World', opposed by 'The Man Made World', the synthetic and artificial, the so called 'Unnatural'. All is nature. Man cannot step outside nature. He is nature, and therefore so are his thoughts and products. Seeing the world this way should not mean taking sides. In today's discourse, more often than not, one side opposes the other.

Nature is perceived as wholly good, while man and his endeavours are seen in opposition. Nature can be very cruel, as man can be good. Nature is one system and we are part of that system. Thus, the plastic and aluminium garbage littering the gutter is as the stout oak tree standing in the reflected light of a sublime sunset. A pristine metal and glass micro chip factory is of nature, of mans intellect, as is the last of a virgin landscape in which that factory stands. All is one.