b. 1950, Australia

Lives and works Cooma, New South Wales.

Imants Tillers since the late 70’s has critiqued not only the art of the late 20th century Australian art but also international centres of the Western world. No discussion on postmodernism or appropriation can take place in Australia without reference to this significant artist.

Imants Tillers is the child of Latvian refugees who arrived in Australia in 1949, exiled from their homeland by war and political turmoil, part of the great post-war European diaspora. It is this experience of being displaced to a new land, isolated from cultural and personal histories, which has become a central component of Tillers’ work.

While he was born in Australia, in 1950, his first language was Latvian and therefore the questions he asks in his work are informed by the diasporic experience and longing—about place, relationships to the past and the self, of locality and identity. Together, the more than 100,000 canvasboards in Tillers’ paintings form a long poem with many verses. They are informed, as Tillers said of Colin McCahon, by “a constant tension between the search for meaning, the desire for transcendence and a pervasive, immovable scepticism.”

His landscapes are made up of fragments of borrowed images and of language—marks, words, phrases and names used to create the country, to give it form and place oneself within it. Using simple means—hundreds of small canvasboards combined into huge gridded paintings—they exist as part of a long, continuing series, or like a poem in many, fragmented verses.

Tillers’ works map a space of influence, combining, quoting and knitting together words, images and ideas, ghosts and other associations, with source material contributing fragments to his continuing, multi-part epic. The connections he draws together are at once his own and connections to a wider dialogue.

Imants Tillers: Water Dreaming, 2014, synthetic polymer paint and gouache on 49 canvasboards, No. 94982 - 95030, 178 x 248 cm
Imants Tillers: Melancholy Landscape VII, 2011, synthetic polymer paint and gouache on 72 canvasboards, 228.5 x 284.5 cm
Imants Tillers: Leap of Faith (detail), 1993/2009, oilstick, gouache and synthetic polymer paint on 120 canvas boards, 304.8 x 381cm, , with 6 painted bronze sculptures, 28 x 30 x 25cm each, cast from 864 canvas boards
Imants Tillers: Shadow of the Hereafter, 2007, acrylic and gouache on 72 canvas boards, 228.5 x 284.5 cm
Imants Tillers: Outback, synthetic polymer & gouache on 54 panels, 228 x 213 cm
2014The Philosopher's Walk, Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide
2013The Fleeting Self, Arc One Gallery, Melbourne
2012Capricornia, Jan Manton Art, Brisbane
Tabula Rasa, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney
2011Nature Speaks, Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide
2010A Poem of the Land, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney
The Blossoming World, Arc One Gallery, Melbourne
2009Leap of Faith, Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide
Imants Tillers: The long poem, Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, The University of WA, Perth
'Value Added' Landscapes, Jan Manton Art, Brisbane
2008The Tears of Things, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney
Melancholy Landscape, Arc One Gallery, Melbourne
2007In Two Minds, Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide

one world / many visions, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

2005Land Beyond Goodbye, Sherman Galleries, Sydney
2004Local Knowledge, Raglan Gallery and Cultural Centre, Cooma, NSW
Transmissions: From here and there, Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne
Imants Tillers, Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide
2003Imants Tillers: Recent Works, Sherman Galleries, Sydney
Imants Tillers, Australian Art Resources, Melbourne
2002ARCO, Madrid (Greenaway Art Gallery)
Not yet post-Aboriginal, Hazelhurst Regional Gallery, Sydney
Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide
Chapman Gallery, Canberra
Melbourne Art Fair (Span Galleries)
2000Imants Tillers, Sherman Galleries Hargrave, Sydney
Imants Tillers, Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide
1999-00Towards Infinity: Works by Imants Tillers, MARCO Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Monterrey, Mexico
1999Not yet post-Aboriginal, Span Galleries, Melbourne
Nature Speaks, Sherman Galleries Goodhope, Sydney
Home Visitation, Chapman Gallery, Canberra20
2013Australia, Royal Academy of Arts, London
Archibald Prize Exhibition, Art Gallery of New South Wales
Wynne Prize Exhibition, Art Gallery of New South Wales
2012New Work, Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide
2011Group Show, Roslyn Oxley 9 Gallery, Sydney
Out of Australia: Prints + Drawings from Sidney Nolan to Rover Thomas, British Museum, London
2010MCA Collection: New Acquisitions in Context, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
2008Michael Nelson Jagamara: from the studio, experimentations and collaborations, 1996-2008, Fireworks Gallery, Brisbane (collaborative work included)
2007New Horizons: The Collection of the Ishibashi Foundation, Bridgestone Museum of Art, Tokyo
The John McCaughey Memorial Prize: 50 Years, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Poets Paint Words, Newcastle Region Art Gallery
Summer '07 '08, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney
Prelude 2008, Arc One Gallery, Melbourne
20062006: The Year in Art, S.H. Erwin Gallery, National Trust Centre, Sydney
Prism: Contemporary Australian Art, Bridgestone Museum of Art, Tokyo
2006 Clemenger Contemporary Art Award, The Ian Potter Centre, NGV Australia, Melbourne
nEUclear reactions, Centro de Arte Caja de Burgos (CAB), Spain
Poor Yorick, Virginia Wilson Art, Sydney
15th Biennale of Sydney: Zones of Contact, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
2005Arts de la Table, ANU Drill Hall Gallery, Canberra
A Partial View: Australian Art in he UWA Art Collection, Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, Perth
Shoosh! A History of the Campfire Group, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane
Unscripted: Language in Contemporary Australian Art, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
Pitch Your Own Tent: Art Projects / Store 5 / First Floor, Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne
A Sense of Place, Tarrawarra Museum of Art, Yarra Valley, Melbourne
2004One Of: Festivus 04, Sherman Galleries, Sydney ANU Art Collection: Acquisitions from the Last Ten Years, ANU Drill Hall Gallery, Canberra
Sharjah Project: Artcard, Sharjah Art Museum, United Arab Emirates
Shanghai Art Fair, Australian Art Resources, Melbourne
The Joseph Brown Collection, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Imants Tillers, John Nixon and Louise Forthun, Conny Dietzschold Gallery, Sydney
Landscape in Me: Windows on Australian Art, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin
2003MCA Unpacked II, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
First Beijing International Art Biennale, Beijing, China (Prize for Excellence)
Intergrafia: World Award Winners Gallery, International Print Triennale, Krakow, Poland
Empathy: Beyond the Horizon, Artspace, Sydney
Austral–Asia Zero Three, Sherman Galleries, Sydney
Synergies: A Fusion Event, Australian National University, Drill Hall Gallery, Canberra
Fieldwork, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Bushfire, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
2002Kunst Nach Kunst (Art After Art), Neues Museum Weserburg, Bremen, Germany
The Big River Show, Wagga Wagga Regional Art Gallery, NSW
Lines II, Fire-Works Gallery, Brisbane
Deeper Places, Casula Powerhouse, Sydney
Mindscapes, Newcastle Region Art Gallery, NSW
Art Gallery of NSW; Art Gallery of SA; Art Gallery of WA; Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tãmaki, New Zealand; Australian Embassy, Paris; Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, Vic; Bell Resources Collection, New York; Bendigo Art Gallery, Vic; Bridgestone Museum of Art, Tokyo; The Chartwell Collection, New Zealand; Chase Manhattan Bank Collection, New York; Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu, New Zealand; Floridablanca Collection, Madrid; Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne; High Court of Australia Collection, Canberra; Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki; Lila and Gilbert Silverman Collection, Detroit; The Loti and Victor Smorgon Collection; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Michael Darling Collection, Sydney; Monash University Collection, Melbourne; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey (MARCO), Mexico; Museum and Art Gallery of the NT, Darwin; Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa; National Gallery of Australia; National Gallery of Victoria; National Museum of Art, Latvia; Newcastle Region Art Gallery, NSW; Orange Regional Gallery, NSW; Parliament House Art Collection, Canberra; Pori Art Museum, Finland; Prudential Insurance Company Collection, New York; Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston; Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane; Sakai City Collection, Japan; Sussan Corporation Collection, Melbourne; TarraWarra Museum of Art, Vic; Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery; University of Technology Art Collection, Sydney; University of WA Art Collection, Perth; Wagga Wagga Regional Art Gallery, NSW; Wesfarmers Collection, Perth; Westpac Bank Collection, New York; Westpac Corporate Art Collection, Sydney; Wollongong City Gallery, NSW; British Museum, London