William Tillyer: Interview

William Tillyer, Mirador, 2007-08, acrylic on stainless steel wire and panel, 17
William Tillyer, Mirador, 2007-08, acrylic on stainless steel wire and panel, 177.8 x 147.32 x 12.7 cms (courtesy of the artist)

Francesca Simon visits the studio of painter William Tillyer on the occasion of two exhibitions: William Tillyer: The Watering Place at Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London (through November 30) and William Tillyer: Against Nature at MIMA (through February 9, 2014).

Speaking about the divide between abstract and figurative painting, Tillyer comments that "there isn’t a need for those labels now, everything fuses together. I dip into any pot I care to choose. In many people’s eyes that puts me down as a post-modernist, revamping from a canon of forms. The real crux of the problem is that painting as an activity has become marginalised. My thinking is to find room for its continued expansion, I’m particularly interested in tracking the change in painting in terms of surface, to one of physicality; a conversation between illusion and reality." He also remarks: "With any activity you need some support and all the experience of painting is in the past, even if it’s as close as last week. In order to move one’s thinking forward, one needs to reflect on the past. You are forever looking at people who have been involved in the same business, and have found their answers."