William Tillyer

The Palmer Paintings (Clouds that Drop Fatness on the Earth)

1st May – 20th June 2015       



Bernard Jacobson Gallery is very pleased to announce that our second exhibition in our new space on Duke Street St James’s will be a series of paintings by one of Britain’s leading painters William Tillyer.

The Palmer paintings continue Tillyer’s long engagement with the English landscape and in particular his lifelong obsession with clouds. The Palmer of the title is Samuel Palmer 1805-81 the visionary British Romantic landscape painter who, like Tillyer, had an almost mystical view of man’s relationship with the landscape and who has long been an influence and inspiration for Tillyer. (The subtitle is from a line from Psalm 65:11).

Abstracted dreamlike cloudscapes bathed in a golden light, these paintings combine Tillyers’s Romantic as well as his materialist sensibilities. The paintings are produced using a unique technique whereby Tillyer pushes acrylic paint through a fabric mesh that he hangs from the ceiling of his studio. Working from behind as well as from the front he gives a third dimension to his painting, breaking through the grid-like picture plane implied by the mesh and into the real world.

In these works, according to the American poet and art critic John Yau, “Tillyer has achieved an intensity that surpasses his earlier work. He has brought the visionary insights of William Blake and Samuel Palmer into the 21st century….The Palmer paintings are apocalyptic and ravishing, sublime and mysterious.”

Tillyer has recently been working with the acclaimed British poet Alice Oswald who won the T.S. Eliot prize for poetry for her book length poem Dart which celebrates the Devon river. Sharing a similar love of the landscape and an interest in updating our ways of looking at it, Oswald has written a poem reflecting on one of the Palmer paintings to accompany the exhibition.

This will be the first exhibition in London since Tillyer was given the largest single artist exhibition at mima in Middlesbrough. The exhibition went on to become the most visited in the museum’s history.

Tillyer’s work is in many major collections worldwide including Tate and the MoMA, New York.

Bernard Jacobson Gallery’s new premises are in a converted car park in Duke Street St James’s, London, opposite the Royal Academy. Designed by Nick Gowing architects, the gallery occupies the ground and lower ground floor of an extensive, contemporary exhibition space.

 Bernard Jacobson Gallery was founded in1969 as a publisher and dealer in prints. Over the last 45 years the gallery has exhibited many great British, American and European artists including: Ben Nicholson, Bruce McLean, Graham Sutherland, Peter Lanyon, William Scott, Frank Stella, Kenneth Noland, James Rosenquist, Pierre Soulages, Lee Krasner, Marc Vaux, Bram Bogart, William Tillyer, Jules Olitski, Helen Frankenthaler and Robert Motherwell. Forthcoming exhibitions for 2015 include an exhibition focusing on Robert Motherwell’s use of black in June, 
Frank Stella, to coincide with the Whitney restrospective, in October and Sam Francis in December.