October 8, 2020 – January 2021
William Tillyer | Watercolours
Bernard Jacobson Gallery
28 Duke Street St. James’s, London, SW1Y 6AG UK (Temporarily Closed)
Ranging from abstracted mediations on the organic flow of materials to large bodies of work made in response to Tillyer’s extensive travels (from Sweden to Australia; a European Grand Tour to the American West; the artist’s native Yorkshire to the coast of County Kerry), the show encompasses the wide ranging interests that characterise the artist’s approach in all media. In isolating his watercolour practice, however, the show highlights the specific vitality which Tillyer has brought to a historic tradition. As Peter Fuller observed, ‘in the medium of watercolours, and perhaps only in watercolours – the great cry of the romantic aesthetic (i.e. Truth to Nature), and the great cry of emergent Modernism (i.e. Truth to Materials) were, in fact, one and the same…I think it is this unique priority of this elusive medium that Tillyer seems to have understood so fully.’
The exhibition will trace the development of Tillyer’s approach from the tight luminescent lattices of the early 1970’s to the free-flowing washes of more recent years. Throughout, as Fuller had it ‘Tillyer’s watercolours invite us to share with him a tentative and tremulous sensation of physical and spiritual oneness with the natural world.’ Conforming to Fry’s description of ‘pure art – ‘[they] set up vibrations in the deepest levels of consciousness…these vibrations radiate in many directions, lighting up a vast system of correlated feelings and ideas’.