Artist biography

English painter, sculptor, photographer and printmaker. He studied painting and lithography at Yeovil School of Art in Somerset (1953–7), Guildford College of Art (1957–9) and the Royal College of Art, London (1959–62), where he was one of the students associated with Pop art. Boshier juxtaposed contrasting styles within his paintings, but he favoured topical subject-matter such as the space race, political events and the Americanisation of Europe. In the autumn of 1962 Boshier went to India on a one-year scholarship, producing paintings based on Indian symbolism (accidentally destr.). Returning to England he adopted a hard-edged geometric style, often using shaped canvases, abandoning overt figuration but continuing to allude through form to architectural structures and to the grid plans of cities.

In 1966 Boshier turned briefly to sculpture, producing elemental shapes made of perspex and neon, in effect a jazzy version of nascent Minimalism. During the 1970s he experimented with different media, producing photographs, films, collages, constructions, books, posters and record covers. The diversity of this output was unified by his response to contemporary events, his insistence on the social context, his unmasking of the sinister aspects of advertising and his promotion of radical politics.

Boshier returned to painting in 1979, and in 1980 he took up a teaching post in Houston, Texas, where he began introducing poignant, sometimes comical, figures into his canvases. Often garishly coloured and rough in execution, these painted observations of human behaviour earned him a new and devoted following.

Derek Boshier: Work 1971–4 (exh. cat. by D. Boshier, U. Manchester, Whitworth A.G., 1975)
Lives: An Exhibition of Artists whose Work Is Based on Other People's Lives, Selected by Derek Boshier (exh. cat., intro. D. Boshier; ACGB, 1979)
Derek Boshier: Texas Works (exh. cat. by D. Brauer and D. Boshier, London, ICA, 1982)
Derek Boshier: Selected Drawings 1960–1982 (exh. cat. by M. Livingstone and D. Boshier, Liverpool, Bluecoat Gal., 1983)
Derek Boshier (exh. cat., intro. M. Livingstone; Paris, Gal. du Centre, 1993)


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