“Paintings are there to be experienced, they are events. They are also to be meditated on and to be enjoyed by the senses; to be felt through the eye.” – John Hoyland
British artist John Hoyland (1934 – 2011) was one of the leading British painters of his generation. His artworks appear spontaneous but beneath the surface, each composition has an essential formality and a deep emphasis on structure. The visual power behind each painting is methodically concocted through explosive experiments with colour, scale and abstract form; in the words of Hoyland, “painting is a kind of alchemy”. Though heavily influenced by American Abstract Expressionism in the late 1950-1960s, Hoyland preferred not to be regarded as an abstract painter as he viewed the term as too definitive and calculating. The artist instead became fixated on the possibilities of non-figurative imagery, a direction that allowed him to explore “the potential for the most advanced depth of feeling and meaning”. The British curator, critic, and author of John Hoyland: Scatter the Devils, Andrew Lambirth, writes: “His paintings are abstracts but they are not about absolutes. They are about contingencies and specifics: very particular emotions, thoughts and feelings dependent upon the act of looking”.