A Free Thinking career interview with artist William Tillyer, whose work is being celebrated in a retrospective at the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art MIMA.

Listen to Night Waves

In the build up to exhibition 'Against Nature' at mima (Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art), and whilst putting the finishing touches to his series 'The Watering Place' William Tillyer was joined in his North Yorkshire studio by writer and critic Mel Gooding to discuss his work.

watch Against Nature

An exhibition of new works by William Tillyer opens at The Bernard Jacobson Gallery with a Private View on Thursday October 10th from 6-8pm and runs from 11th October - 30th November 2013.

The exhibition will consist of works from two new series: 'The Watering Place' and 'Palmer' and coincides with the retrospective exhibition at MIMA, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, which opens to the public on 25th October 2013.

The Watering Place takes its name from the Rubens masterpiece in the collection of the National Gallery, London (1615-22). This work was also the inspiration for a painting of the same name by the English artist Thomas Gainsborough (before 1777) and later for John Constable's The Hay Wain(1821), both paintings also in the collection of the National Gallery, London. Tillyer?s eponymous Palmer series refers to the romantic and visionary landscape painter Samuel Palmer (1805-1881) and both series can be seen as part of that same English romantic landscape tradition.

Both series convey Tillyer?s deep engagement with painting, particularly abstraction and the tradition of landscape painting. They also reveal the undiminished ambition with which the artist continues to bring fresh insight to the underlying obsessions of his experimental oeuvre; his investigations into the nature of the art object and its role in the world; and his search for materials and techniques not usually associated with painting.

Read the Press Release

On Sunday 27th October, 2013 at 2.15pm William Tillyer will be a guest at Free Thinking to talk to BBC Look North's Sharuna Sagar about an artistic career which has embraced watercolours, print making, drawing, working in tapestry and ceramics and with glass blowers at the National Glass Museum in Sunderland.

Information and Tickets

'For Patinir No.2'

'Haven No.5'

William Tillyer, one of Britain's foremost practitioners of watercolour, marks his 75th birthday with an exhibition of new work.

The Inspired by... gallery brings the work of contemporary artists into the heart of the North York Moors National Park. In many ways, it is the perfect place to show the work of William Tillyer, whose experimental approach to abstraction is rooted fundamentally in a passion for landscape.

In this new exhibition of watercolour drawings and works on paper, he addresses the themes of structure and geometry within an inhabited, working landscape, offering a different perspective on the North York Moors National Park.

Exhibition details

William has recently been continuing a life long exploration of media, techniques and craftsmanship, working with glass blowers at the National Glass Centre in Sunderland. Still in the prototype stage these pieces have been created with James Maskrey. The finished works will form part of the forthcoming exhibition at mima.

Previous collaborations have included the creation of tapestry pieces, high tech machine embroidery, ceramics and bronze casting.



This autumn, mima gives over all its major gallery spaces to the work of Middlesbrough-born William Tillyer, in the largest presentation by a single artist at mima since the gallery's opening in 2007. Tillyer's work is held and has been shown in many museums and private collections nationally and internationally, but he is still surprisingly little known in this country and in his home region.

mima is excited to be showing paintings, watercolours, sculptures and drawings


'The Helmesly Sky Studios 4a'

Bernard Jacobson Gallery, New York, is pleased to announce their upcoming exhibition: Coherent Surface, Radiant Light, opening on May 1st, 2012. There will be an opening reception on May 11th. The show features William Tillyer's works along with Larry Bell, Jake Berthot, Bram Bogart, Vicky Colombet, Rudolf de Crignis, James Hayward, Kazimira Rachfal and Marc Vaux

The exhibition explores the artistic objective to depict light, an endeavor that has important historical antecedents. In Cezanne's opinion light could not be reproduced, "but must be represented by something else, color." The Fauvists, aware that a painter's pigments, when mixed are duller than light, developed the practice of using colors pure, as they come out of the tube. Ben Nicholson considered the color of light to be white and Malevich described white as the color of the infinite and the primordial. William Tillyer is a painter of light. His artistic intention is to reposition English landscape painting, creating new relevance for this art form by dissolving the barrier between nature and the evidence of man who is seen as a part of nature. Nowhere is this better evidenced than in the works featured in 'Coherant Surface', his recent relief paintings where a surface of manifestly man made panels provide the support for flowing translucent color, evoking sky, clouds or sun light.

More information at Jacobsongallery.com