Object Image

High Force

This work shows High Force waterfall, where the River Tees plunges dramatically over a sheer cliff in Teesdale, County Durham. The largest body of water falling over a single drop in England, it is an iconic landmark in the area. It has been depicted by many artists, including JMW Turner (who sketched it in 1816).

William Tillyer creates an abstract vision of the falls. He isolates the torrent of water, flattening it within an orderly grid. Its form takes shape through sharply defined colour changes within a network of lines. The energy of the falls is conveyed by splashes of colour that bounce through this lattice. The work is part of a series where Tillyer used printmaking techniques to examine the natural world and our attempts to shape and structure it. Bringing together nature and artifice, these polished, idolised visions of landscape buzz with controlled energy.

William Tillyer studied at Middlesbrough School of Art (now The Northern School of Art), and the Slade School of Art in London. His first solo exhibition was at Middlesbrough Art Gallery in 1962. He went on to exhibit worldwide. In 2013, MIMA presented a retrospective of his 50- year career. He created a huge new digitally manipulated watercolour painting of High Force, to cascade down the full height of MIMA’s central gallery.

Artwork of the Week, MIMAZINA, April 2020, Olivia Heron © MIMA

Lithograph on paper

Where you'll find this

Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art