“You cannot travel on the path,
Before you have become the path itself.”
This exhibition is the first since my retrospective at the Latvian National Museum of Art in Riga last year for which I have produced new work. After Riga I wondered: What Now? In the last 15 months I have tried to make sense out of what happened then and my subsequent journeys on the various roads to nowhere – to remote places like Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos in the United States; to Hamilton and Dunkeld in Western Victoria; to Césis, Sigulda, Tartu and Tallinn in Northern Europe. Also I have tried to distil the essence of my personal experiences during this period such as joy, exultation, pride, gratitude, surprise, Déjà vu, coincidence, loss, anxiety, amygdala hijack, injury and the imminent event of a death in the family. A victim of what is infinitely close at hand.
However, here I also give thanks (as is inscribed on an ancient rock on the shores of Sirius Cove):
“TO THEE INVISIBLE GOD.
—Imants Tillers , 4 September 2019
Imants Tillers (born 1950) is one of Australia’s foremost contemporary artists whose practice spans four decades. Since 1981 Tillers has used his signature canvas boards to explore themes relevant to contemporary culture, from the centre/periphery debates of the 1980s to the effects of migration, displacement and diaspora. Most recently his paintings have been concerned with place, locality and evocations of landscape. On these multiple panels Tillers juxtaposes layers of imagery and text drawn from a great many sources of influence and inspiration. The result is a convergence of ideas and a multiplicity of references that cite art – including other artists’ work – history, literature, politics, society and the artist’s personal history.
Tillers represented Australia at the São Paulo Art Biennial (1975), Documenta 7 (1982) and the 42nd Venice Biennale (1986). Tillers has held solo shows at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London (1988), National Art Gallery in Wellington (1989), and National Gallery of Australia in Canberra (2006). Tillers’ international reputation was consolidated through participation in group exhibitions at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, Los Angeles County Museum, Los Angeles, Bridgestone Museum of Art, Tokyo and Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Tillers regularly takes part in the Sydney Art Biennials (1979, 1986, 1988, 2006) and is the recipient of multiple notable awards – Osaka Triennial Prizes (Gold in 1993, Bronze in 1996, Silver in 2001), Beijing International Art Biennale (2003), and the top Australian art award for landscape painting, the Wynne Prize (2012, 2013).
In 2018, the Latvian National Museum of Art, Riga hosted a major retrospective of his work titled Journey to Nowhere. Also to coincide with this exhibition the Juris Podnieks Studio in Riga produced a feature-length documentary on his life and work: Thrown into the World.
Imants Tillers has been represented by Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery since 2008.