Mark Boyle


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British sculptor, painter, and Performance artist, born in Glasgow. He served in the army, 1950–53, and studied law at Glasgow University, 1955–6, then worked at a variety of jobs (clerk, labourer, waiter), before turning to art—untrained—when he met the painter Joan Hills (1936–) in 1958. Thereafter they lived and worked together, based in London, and in the 1980s they were joined in their artistic endeavours by their children Georgia (1962–) and Sebastian (1964–), collaborating as the Boyle Family. In the early 1960s Boyle and Hills were involved in performances or Happenings, one of which was ‘Theatre’ (1964). In this they ‘led a group of people down London's Pottery Lane to a dilapidated rear entrance marked “Theatre”. Once inside, Boyle and Hills invited their company to be seated on kitchen chairs ranged before a set of blue plush curtains, which opened upon a performance composed of nothing more, nor less, than the ongoing, everyday activity of the street outside’ (Daniel Wheeler, Art Since Mid-Century, 1991). In 1967–8 they worked on light-shows for rock musicians, including Jimi Hendrix, and after 1969 they devoted much of their energies to a long-running project called ‘Journey to the Surface of the Earth’. This has involved making minutely detailed replicas in fibreglass of small areas (usually about 2 × 2 metres) of the earth's surface at sites chosen at random by having blindfolded friends or members of the public throw darts at a map of the world: ‘The aim is to produce as objective a work as possible.’ Exhibitions of these works, which are hung on the wall like pictures, have been held at the Hayward Gallery, London (1986), and elsewhere.

From A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Art.

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