Untitled
1971
Lithograph
30 3/4 x 22 1/2 inches
Gift of Ralph Slovenko

John Hoyland, a British artist seen as one of the leading abstract painters of his generation, was best known for his non-representational, expressive paintings. As art critic Andrew Lambirth recounted, “Hoyland’s paintings are abstracts but they are not about absolutes. They are about contingencies and specifics: very particular emotions, thoughts and feelings dependent upon the act of looking.”  Hoyland went through phases in his career, in the 1950s making mostly portrait and landscape paintings, to the 1960’s when he shifted to more abstract work. This expanded within his practice of painting but also in his printmaking. He believed that non-figurative imagery had “the potential for the most advanced depth of feeling and meaning.”

Seeing artmaking as a form of alchemy by letting pieces come from his intuition, Hoyland infused this method with his knowledge from a long academic background. He studied at the Sheffield School of Art, and the Royal Academy School of Art, where he was later on appointed a Professor of Art.

In ‘Untitled’, an abstract-expressionist lithograph, the viewer is met with a palette evocative of a vibrant interplay of pinks and orange, reminiscent of a sunset. The ink is printed tactfully on the picture plane, although much of it appears as drips and spontaneous marks on the page. The composition holds three horizontal rectangles that are just slightly off center, which gives the viewer an entry point to witness some of the more subtle shapes on the page. 

Text by Emily Lane Borden