AS William Tillywer approaches his 80th birthday on September 25, the spotlight will fall on the Middlesbrough artist from next Friday at Kunstuis Gallery, Dutch House, Mill Green Farm, Crayke, near York.

This is the chosen location for his northern showcase as the birthday celebrations take in a series of exhibitions in both the north and the south that will stretch into 2019.

The contemporary abstract Kunstuis art space will be the first location in the birthday series, having been granted access to show some of his wider collection of works, with his beloved subject matter, the county of Yorkshire, his perennial focus.

A northern gallery last presented Tillyer's work on this scale in the winter of 2013 at the Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA) in his home town in his first retrospective since 1966.

Kunsthuis Gallery owner Cecile Creemers has followed Tillyer’s artistic voyage since his early days. Inspired by attending the MIMA retrospective, she has now curated a new northern show five years later as part of his 80th birthday series of exhibitions.

On visiting his studio to put the show together, she said: "William Tillyer's pieces are like a music album; you wind your way through the body of work and there are some that you love, some you admire and some you find a special and deeper connection with."

York Press:

Another William Tillyer work in his Kunsthuis Gallery show

From watercolours to acrylic mesh paintings, Tillyer draws on his native Yorkshire landscape, in particular the stark contrast between industry and nature. Using the likes of John Constable, Samuel Palmer and John Sell Cotman as a base and inspiration, he has carried scenery painting into adventurous new territory.

Born and bred in Middlesbrough, he first escaped the family hardware shop to begin his enigmatic art career at Middlesbrough College of Art from 1956 to 1959, moving to London in the 1960s to study at the Slade School of Art. He then took up a French government scholarship to study gravure – a printing method whereby an image is applied to a printing substrate by use of a metal plate mounted on a cylinde –under Stanley William Hayter at Atelier 17 in Paris.

On his return to London, he made radically experimental work that raised questions about the relationship of art to the world and man to nature. His printmaking in the 1970s brought him the support of his dealer, Bernard Jacobson, who is to host four exhibitions celebrating Tillyer’s 80th birthday in his London gallery, as well as releasing a publication on Tillyer’s birthday, containing a personal account documenting the artist’s relationship with his dealer that now extends to beyond 40 years.

Tillyer's Kunsthuis exhibition will be marked by a boldness of colour, form and media in a series of etchings, woodcuts, prints and watercolours taken from his extensive repertoire. Look out, for example, for his vibrant yet mystifying and delicate piece, Living by the Esk – the only east-flowing major river in Yorkshire that flows to the North Sea – and the courageous, ghostly stark contrast of The North York Moors, Falling Sky, with its hint of the seasonal weather that can torment the moors.

Tillyer's work can be seen in collections of the Tate and V&A in London and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, so Cecile is delighted to be showing works at Kunsthuis that will not be on show anywhere else in the north.

This exhibition, billed as Witte Kubus Show IV, will run from September 7 to October 28 and also will feature work by Gareth Griffiths, a member of the Royal Society of British Sculptors. Opening hours are Wednesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm.