AboutBeaux Arts presents a new body of work by John Hoyland (b1934), the leading British painter of his generation who celebrates his 75th birthday on October 12. The exhibition, titled Star Thrower, coincides with the publication of John Hoyland: Scatter the Devils by Andrew Lambirth, focusing on work from the last decade.
Following major heart surgery in May last year Hoyland returned to his studio with unabated energy and since his illness has produced more than 70 new paintings, 20 of which are included in the show. The show's title alludes not only to Hoyland's imagery but to his willingness to take risks. As Lambirth says in his book, âHoyland is a trouble-maker. Not just in his outspoken jousting with the accepted values of the Establishment, but in his art.' âA visionary without a manifesto', he is constantly pursuing new ideas and forms, conjuring the previously unimagined in paint. His latest work is as inventive and vital as ever, resonant expanses of deep galactic space giving way to a halo of light; or a black hole emitting or absorbing a mysterious radiance. Some of the work is much more visceral. Blood Summer, for instance, the first painting he did on leaving hospital, has a white vertical stripe down one side, like the scar from his operation; and River of Bliss exudes a similarly physical energy.
Damien Hirst describes Hoyland (in an interview in Autumn's Royal Academy Magazine) as âeasily the greatest British abstract painter'. âAbstract', however, is a tag Hoyland famously resists. Abstraction, says Hoyland, âis just too abstract a word. It smacks always of geometry to me, of rational thought. There's no geometry, there's no rectangles in nature, no real straight lines. There's only the circle, the one really powerful form in nature I keep getting drawn back to.' What he's really aiming for, he tells Hirst, is âto be able to paint anything. I'm not there yet, but that's where I'm aiming to get.'