Professor John Hoyland RA
Honorary Doctorate - 2001
John Hoyland emerged as one of Britain's leading abstract painters in the 1960's. He has exhibited in London, New York, Munich, Milan and Montreal. During the 1970's Hoyland worked in New York alongside abstract artists including Noland, Poons and Olitski.
In 1960 and 1961 Hoyland was one of the youngest artists to exhibit in the Situation exhibitions alongside Harold and Bernard Cohen, William Turnbull, Gillian Ayres, Henry Mundy and Robyn Denny. His works of this period were concerned with geometric forms.
In the Autumn of 1961 the Whitechapel Gallery held an exhibition on Mark Rothko which had a profound affect on Hoyland. The carefully constructed abstract paintings from the Situation exhibitions were soon to give way to a more sinuous and organic style of painting with a strong use of colour. Hoyland was fortunate enough to win the support of the curator at the Whitechapel Gallery, Bryan Robertson, who included Hoyland's paintings in the successful exhibition The New Generation in 1964. He also helped Hoyland win a travel bursary to New York where Hoyland met and visited the studios of Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman and Rothko. He also met the critic Clement Greenberg and the young painters Greenberg was championing at the time: Kenneth Noland and Jules Olitski.
By the 1970's Hoyland was applying the paint more freely; in the tactile paintings from this period, the paint has been poured, splattered and applied with a palette-knife. Hoyland's paintings have continued to evolve into new phases.