John Hoyland

North Sound


Not on display

John Hoyland 1934–2011
Acrylic paint on canvas
Support: 2286 × 2438 × 26 mm
Purchased 1979

Display caption

This painting adds both material texture through paint and compositional structure through form and colour. The drama of the variety of painted marks – knifed, flung, pooled or stained – complements the intensity of colour. The relationship between the monumental grouping of slabs of colour and the blue ground holds the work in a restless tension between colour and form.

Gallery label, October 2019

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Catalogue entry

T02403 NORTH SOUND 1979

Inscribed on reverse ‘NORTH SOUND 15.7.79 HOYLAND’
Acrylic on canvas, 90 × 96 (228.6 × 243.8)
Purchased from the Waddington Galleries (Grant-in-Aid) 1979
Exh: John Hoyland, Serpentine Gallery, September–October 1979 (ex catalogue)

‘North Sound’ and ‘Saracen’ were painted almost two years apart. Yet John Hoyland considers that these works are ‘possibly cousins, at least part of the same family of configurations which go back ... to the early sixties.’ (Conversation with the artist, 23 Sept. 1980). Hoyland paints families of canvases, that is groups of works that have a similar basic format but whose internal colour and formal relationships are modified. These formats may be similar for a considerable period.

Hoyland used not to give titles to his works, preferring to substitute the date on which he considered the work finished. A friend suggested a number of titles to him and he now creates his own. However, he considers these neither explanatory nor descriptive. Rather he hopes that they will provide some sort of counterpoint which will not limit the possibility for change and will also allow each individual to make multiple readings. He expects there to be some resonance between the title and the work.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1978-80: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1981

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