8 October 2015
A solo exhibition of work by John Hoyland (1934–2011) – one of Britain’s leading abstract painters – inaugurates Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery, which opens today in Vauxhall, south London.
‘Power Stations’ presents over thirty of Hoyland’s large-scale paintings, dating from 1964 to 1982, drawn from Hirst’s collection. Spanning a pivotal period in the artist’s career, the works are on display throughout all six of the gallery’s exhibition spaces until 3rd April 2016. Entry to the gallery is free of charge.
Renowned for his bold and intuitive use of colour, form, line and space, Hoyland emerged at the forefront of the abstract movement in Britain in the early 1960s, and remained an energetic and innovative force within the field, until his death in 2011.
‘Power Stations’ will be the first major exhibition devoted to the artist since a retrospective of his work at Tate St Ives in 2006. Hoyland, who was elected to the Royal Academy in 1991, has also been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Whitechapel Gallery (1967), the Serpentine Gallery (1979) and the Royal Academy of Arts, London (1999).
Hirst has been an admirer of Hoyland’s work since he first encountered it in Leeds Art Gallery as a student. He has described Hoyland as: “an artist who was never afraid to push the boundaries. His paintings always feel like a massive celebration of life to me.” On the choice of Hoyland for Newport Street’s inaugural exhibition, Hirst commented in an interview with Tim Marlow, Director of Artistic Programmes, Royal Academy of Arts, London: “The space will set the paintings off brilliantly and the paintings will set the space off brilliantly.”
Despite consistently maintaining that non-figurative imagery embodied “the potential for the most advanced depth of feeling and meaning”, Hoyland disliked the label of ‘abstract artist’, asserting that its implications of premeditated action were not applicable to his working methods. Describing the instinctive nature of his process, he asserted that painting instead provided a means of “measuring one’s physical and emotional responses”. Simultaneously monumental and poetic, the works presented in the exhibition are, above all, sensory experiences. Serving as an overdue affirmation of Hoyland’s significance within the field of abstraction, they provide fascinating insights into the artist’s practice, and through it, the object of painting itself.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue that includes a foreword by Tate director, Nicholas Serota, written to coincide with Newport Street’s opening, as well as a text by art historian and critic, Barry Schwabsky, a re-published essay by the late writer Gordon Burn, and a 2009 conversation between Hoyland and Damien Hirst.
For more information on Newport Street Gallery, please visit newportstreetgallery.com.
Damien Hirst in conversation with Tim Marlow, Director of Artistic Programmes, Royal Academy of Arts, London, discussing Newport Street Gallery and its inaugural exhibition of work by British painter John Hoyland (1934–2011).
Camera/Edit: Jon Lowe
Film © Damien Hirst/Science Ltd., All rights reserved, DACS 2015