Artist biography

Scottish sculptor, performance artist and painter. He studied law at the University of Glasgow (1955–6) but received no formal art training. He had a number of jobs until devoting himself entirely to art in 1958, when he met the artist Joan Hills (b Edinburgh, 1936) and began living and working with her. His earliest works were paintings, which were featured in his first one-man show in 1963. From 1964 he organised a series of events presented in front of an audience, beginning with Suddenly Last Supper (1964) at a flat in London.

Between August 1968 and July 1969 he invited members of the public to his studio, where they were blindfolded and asked to throw darts at a map of the world. These randomly selected locations formed the start of the project Journey to the Surface of the Earth. Boyle and Hills planned to visit each of the locations and make an exact relief reproduction of an area of the surface there. The project was intended as a means of revealing the beauty and interest of traditionally banal materials, such as rock, earth and sand, and of making the viewer more perceptually aware. It became his life's work, extended to include other places the artists happened to visit. From the 1980s, working as the Boyle Family, they were helped by their children, Georgia Boyle (b 1962) and Sebastian Boyle (b 1964).

Bibliography
Journey to the Surface of the Earth: Mark Boyle's Atlas and Manual (exh. cat., The Hague, Gemeentemus., 1970)
Beyond Image: Boyle Family (exh. cat. by Boyle Family and D. Thompson, London, Hayward Gal., 1986)

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