Joe Tilson, who was born in London in 1928, trained as a carpenter at the Brixton School of Building in his early teens, before completing military service. In 1949 he attended St. Martin’s School of Art with Leon Kosoff and Frank Auerbach, and continued his training in 1952 at the Royal College of Art in with Peter Blake, Allen Jones, Patrick Caulfield and David Hockney, who alongside Tilson were instrumental in the birth of British Pop Art.
Joe Tilson at 90 will feature Tilson’s groundbreaking screenprints and collages from the sixties together with his most recent prints. Alcheringa prints from the early 1970s exploring the four elements of earth, water, air and fire, will be exhibited alongside depictions of symbols and gods from Greek Mythology, including, The Shield of Achilles, 1989-90 and Nine Muses, 2005. Works that reference ecological concerns through the representation of butterflies, birds and flowers made over a ten year period include Conjunction, Tiger Moth, Seme, 1996, and Conjunction, Adonis Blue, Fico, 1996.
More recent works such as Postcards from Venice, 2011-12, represent the influence of Italy, a place Tilson has been deeply connected with since his first visit in 1955. Tilson continues to develop his The Stones of Venice series, and the exhibition will feature new hand-coloured prints exploring Venetian architectural motifs.
Since 1970 Tilson has kept notebooks; a complete record of where and what was going on, people met, places seen, poetry, and illustrations of works in progress, all interspersed with personal thoughts. A selection of these will be on view in the exhibition.