Bernard Jacobson Gallery is delighted to announce À Rebours, an exhibition of the new folio of 52 prints by William Tillyer inspired by Joris-Karl Huysmans’ seminal 19th century novel. The folio will also be accompanied by the publication this February of a new translation of À Rebours by acclaimed author and translator, Theo Cuffe, illustrated throughout by Tillyer.
À Rebours (Against Nature) has been an enduring source of inspiration and fascination for Tillyer from his earliest practice as an artist, representing the dynamic polarity of the natural versus the contrived - and good versus evil. The tension between these opposing sides is seen repeatedly in Tillyer’s work and perhaps is particularly evident in the use of metal grids in his landscape paintings.
This might seem at odds with an artist who is equally passionate about the naturalism of Constable but this contradiction is eloquently explained by the art historian, Norbert Lynton ‘Constable’s art involved hard-won and hard-worked artifice to achieve the effect of naturalness...Huysmans’s artifice is patent: ascribed to des Esseintes, it is the theme of his book’ (À Rebours) *. Whilst Tillyer is certainly alive to the beauty of the natural world, his attempts to portray it are always firmly rooted in an understanding that all art is artifice.