Spotlight: Octogenarian Artist William Tillyer’s Radical New Wire Paintings Are Now on View in London—See Images Here

His latest works are currently on view at Bernard Jacobson Gallery in London.

William Tillyer, Cloud Control - The Mulgrave Tensile Wire Works. Courtesy of Bernard Jacobson Gallery.

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What You Need to Know: Now in his 80s, British artist William Tillyer is creating what might be the most radical expressions of his long career. “William Tillyer: The Mulgrave Tensile Wire Works and Mulgrave Wire Scrolls,” now on view at Bernard Jacobson Gallery in London, showcases his most recent works. Stainless steel wires strung across metal frames and fragments of metal mesh serve as the canvases for Tillyer’s paintings of the North Yorkshire landscape, in which he has spent most of his life. These mesh and wire materials form porous, fluctuating bases for his landscapes, ones which force the eye to look, and then look again, as though to confirm what one thinks they are seeing. The grid structure has informed Tillyer’s work since the 1970s; it is a philosophical metaphor for what the artist sees as the interconnectedness of the universe. But here comes into its boldest form yet. 

Why We Like It: Though capturing the landscape can’t said be a novel artistic terrain, the paintings interactions with the mesh shapes interestingly feels indebted to the Suprematists and Constructivists of the early 20th century, and works by Lissitzky, Malevich, and Rodchenko are all brought unexpectedly to mind. 

About the Artist: “Rather than depict a vase of flowers as distinct from the space it inhabits, Tillyer focused on the bond between figure and field. His attention to the inseparability of the thing from the air and light around it is what led him to become the most radical painter of his generation, even as he arrived at this distinction after some of his contemporaries had gained much attention,” wrote art historian John Yau in a new monograph on the artist, William Tillyer: A Retrospective.

See images of “William Tillyer: The Mulgrave Tensile Wire Works and Mulgrave Wire Scrolls” below.

Installation view "William Tillyer: The Mulgrave Tensile Wire Works and Mulgrave Wire Scrolls" 2021. Courtesy of Bernard Jacobson Gallery.

Installation view “William Tillyer: The Mulgrave Tensile Wire Works and Mulgrave Wire Scrolls” 2021. Courtesy of Bernard Jacobson Gallery.

Installation view "William Tillyer: The Mulgrave Tensile Wire Works and Mulgrave Wire Scrolls" 2021. Courtesy of Bernard Jacobson Gallery.

Installation view “William Tillyer: The Mulgrave Tensile Wire Works and Mulgrave Wire Scrolls” 2021. Courtesy of Bernard Jacobson Gallery.

Installation view "William Tillyer: The Mulgrave Tensile Wire Works and Mulgrave Wire Scrolls" 2021. Courtesy of Bernard Jacobson Gallery.

Installation view “William Tillyer: The Mulgrave Tensile Wire Works and Mulgrave Wire Scrolls” 2021. Courtesy of Bernard Jacobson Gallery.

William Tillyer: The Mulgrave Tensile Wire Works and Mulgrave Wire Scrolls” is on view at Bernard Jacobson Gallery through October 29, 2021.


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