Imants Tillers

Outback: C, 2005
synthetic polymer paint on 54 canvas boards (no. 76222-76275)
228.6 x 213.4 cm

View extended notes

Sherman Galleries, Sydney
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2005 

Imants Tillers: Land Beyond Goodbye, Sherman Galleries, Sydney, 20 October – 12 November 2005

I. Tillers, Imants Tillers: Land Beyond Goodbye, Sydney, exh. cat., illus.

"The Outback paintings refer to the spiritual heart of Australia and my imagined relationship to this 'unsolved' heart, for I was born in Australia and Australia is my homeland. The names of towns and localities present in many of these works, like William Creek, Lake Eyre, Broken Hill, Coober Pedy, Kata Tjuta, Kununurra and Faraway Bay, I use as a kind of readymade poetry. They are also places I have visited on my 'unfinished journey'"

The work in the Outback series expresses "certain ideas about the Australian landscape. In this guise I am following a powerful, distinctly Australian theme that stretches across time, from the work of Eugène con Guérard, John Glover, Arthur Streeton and Tom Roberts to Sidney Nolan, Fred Williams, Rosalie Gascoigne, John Olsen, Rover Thomas and Emily Kngwarreye. One could add the late works of the important conceptual artist Ian Burn to this landscape trajectory in Australian art." (Imants Tillers, Blairgowrie, Cooma, 30 August 2005 in Imants Tillers: Land Beyond Goodbye, Sydney, exh. cat.)

  • Outback: C

Image courtesy of the artist

View artist profile

In his early twenties Imants Tillers entered the international art world stage with his debate on the authenticity of the artist. The majority of Tillers work is the direct appropriation of other artists painted onto his canvasboards which comment, criticise, embrace and form an image, that did not belong to him in the first place, his own. The appropriating of other peoples work is both contentious and dangerous with a possible accusation of his stealing others ideas. For Tillers, this contention provides debate and a questioning of what his art really is, who it really belongs to and therefore, what the concept original really means. With the borrowing (rather than stealing) of ideas, the rendering of other artists work enriches and deepens the layers of Tillers' canvas.

Since 1981 Tillers has used his signature canvasboards, known as a whole as 'The Book of Power' 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 the landscape.

Tillers is represented by Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney and Arc One Gallery, Melbourne