John Hoyland (1934 - 2011)

British abstract painter, born in Sheffield. He studied at Sheffield College of Art, 1951-6, and the Royal Academy Schools, 1956-60. Early influences were the painting of Nicolas de Stäel and the teaching of Victor Pasmore. He took part in the 'Situation'exhibition of abstract painting in 1960. His paintings at this point used bands of colour which suggested a kind of buckling of the picture plane, but by the time of his appearance in the 'New Generation' exhibition in 1964 he was painting unequivocally flat works with the paint soaked into the canvas in a manner reminiscent of the Colour Field painters: simple intensely coloured forms floated against a colour field (14.6.64, 1964, Manchester Art Gallery). Following the exhibition, he was awarded a bursary which enabled him to travel to New York, where he met Helen Frankenthaler, Kenneth Noland, and Clement Greenberg. He also discovered the paintings of Hans Hofmann; under his influence he employed thick layers of brilliantly coloured pigment. What was consistent in Hoyland's painting was its scale and its preoccupation with colour. 'The shapes and colours I paint and the significance I attach to them I cannot explain in any coherent way. The exploration of colour, mass, shape is, I believe, a self-exploration constantly varied and changing in nature: a reality made tangible on the painted surface.' From the late 1960s, Hoyland worked as a printmaker, initially making screenprints and lithographs but subsequently producing monoprints and etchings. His use of the latter medium was especially distinctive, producing textural effects normally associated with painting.


Text Source: A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art