Bernard Jacobson Gallery - 'William Tillyer - The Palmer Paintings' (1st May - 30th May 2015)
From the press release I understood that Tillyer was exploring landscape, and 'cloudscapes' in his paintings and I was thinking about thick rich coloured paint and vibrant colours so I was suprised when the first pieces seen when walking into the gallery are smaller pieces on paper. These very fluid making me think of watercolour or inks and while small and fragmented the surfaces give an effect of motion and hold a glimpse into a larger movement. Moving further into the gallery you are then confronted by paintings on a much different scale.
After being described as clouds and knowing that these paintings are also about landscape it was refreshing to find them all portrait, I think this helped to push from rolling countryside connotations and leaned toward the light cloud-like sense.
It helped when viewing from a distance, allowing the colours and soft arching marks to guide you around the canvas but up close, where you could admire the construction of Tillyer's unique materials and process of mesh and paint the cloud-like experience faded into a very 'painterly' experience. I became engrossed with the tiny details and the fluid mixing of colours on the surface.
At one point I forgot clouds all together and instead began to think about aerial photographs of oceans and coast-lines. How each colour represents different depths and the swirled fluid patterns can associate to water currents.
Again my favourite piece was the 'Palmer Triple’ (pictured above) The exposed mesh that was left hanging instead of backed by board or canvas felt lighter, the gallery lighting added this effect leaving it feeling fragile even though it was holding a massive quantity of paint that could be seen dripping and oozing through the mesh. This piece was encapsulating. Once drawn in by it's surface I felt dwarfed in front of it, but that feeling of confrontation by the colours and depth left me wanting more. Wanting to be humbled in this way by sunsets each day. It felt I was presented with the frozen moment that, unlike real clouds or landscapes, this piece isn't fleeting but solid and that you can relive the experience.