bryant tillman

bryant-tillman_ bryant-tillman_2ABOUT THE ARTIST

bryant tillman has painted for 30 years. A field trip to the Impressionists wing at the Detroit Institute of Arts in 1983 forever changed this Detroiter’s destiny. Starting with modest exhibits in artists’ venues like the Detroit Artist Market, hipster spaces and backyard soirees, tillman developed a parallel interest in curatorial aspects of art presentation and soon became the “go-to” guy for guerilla venues in the ’80s and gallery management over the past decade.

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works from alexandrine

Presented as part of the Art X Detroit 2015 Visual Arts Exhibition, works from alexandrine presents a handful of Impressionist paintings to showcase the end result of several years of diligent progression, showing the summation of tillman’s current pathway in painting.


Having learned how emotional content infuses itself into general presentational values, such as in Impressionism, my particular style, I had been seeking my singular voice, where my brush would fairly “sing” out the strokes to compliment the “dancing” of the brush handling. What I wanted in my work is the ability to delight the eye and mind as well as gratify the viewer with the usual qualities of realism. What I had learned, however, is that in my intended road towards a more “expressionistic” bearing, the prerequisite objectivity of realism versus the underlying embellishments of emotional expressionism could emerge as a mutually exclusive proposition. What usually happens at this point is that one side will have to diminish its influence to facilitate the other, and I hate making decisions over such matters of technique without fully exploring the separate aspects.

What I have feared in my painting over the past year is that the sirens of realism and technical proficiency were winning out over the things that made a modern painting attractive to the nuanced and experienced viewer, and that maybe realism, being either over-rated or functionally redundant should be the side to diminish, giving license and creativity a greater role. Also, I am having personal issues, to the extent that I openly wonder if as the artist, should I not also enjoy the rapturous effects of being associated with the process of producing a good painting? Should my euphoria during production match my satisfaction at completion?

When I’m using the term “dancing” in describing in my painting, I am merely putting a verb on an action: the activity itself. What I now understand is that the emotional and emphatic content justifies any quality of work, often more than one first realizes.