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John Hoyland

1934 - 2011. Nationality: British.

Born Sheffield UK

From 1951-56 John Hoyland studied at the Sheffield College of Art and then at the Royal Academy Schools from 1956-60. He taught at the Croydon School of Art from 1962-63 and at Chelsea School of Art from 1962-70 where he was principal lecturer from 1965. In 1972 he was Professor of Art at Colgate University, New York and in 1979 he was artist-in-residence at Melbourne University, Australia. From 1974 he taught at St Martin's School of Art, the Royal Academy Schools and the Slade School of Art.

John Hoyland first visited the USA in 1964 on a Peter Stuyvestant bursary. It was during this period that he first encountered the work of the American Abstract Expressionist Mark Rothko, whose use of colour was to have a profound impact on the development of Hoyland's own use of pigmentation. American abstract painting continued to exert formative influences on his work, particularly in the 1960s and 1970s when regular trips to America brought him into contact with the Post Painterly Abstraction of Kenneth Noland and Morris Louis. He travelled there regularly, meeting artists Hans Hofmann, Helen Frankenthaler, Morris Louis, Robert Motherwell and Kenneth Noland. Hofmann's use of colour to structure his paintings was an important influence on Hoyland's work in the 1960s.

Hoyland's work has been abstract since 1958. His paintings of the 1960s relate strongly to those of Noland and Louis. Avoiding any reference to the external environment, Hoyland's paintings exhibit a self-sufficient investigation of the formal properties of colour, shape and scale. Early experiments with hard-edged, geometric patterns give way to undulating, sensuous forms, where 'stain painting' creates a blurred effect along the edges of vibrantly coloured shapes. Particularly important to Hoyland is the manipulation of space and the subtle suggestion of depth within the framework of a superficially flat surface. A hallmark trait of Hoyland's 1960s artwork is the use of semi-rectangular shapes embedded within broad, horizontal canvases steeped in colour.

John Hoyland. Paintings 1960-67, London, Whitechapel Art Gallery, 1967
John Hoyland. Paintings 1967-79, London, Arts Council, 1979 presents an overview of Hoyland's artistic development and examples of his paintings from the 1960s and 1970s.