Ian Ritchie Architects

Search icon

An essay for the John Hoyland Exhibition “Mysteries” at Beaux Arts, London 30/3/2011 – 7/5/2011

Night Sky, 2005 by John Hoyland

Night Sky, 2005 by John Hoyland

Night Sky

I waited for the cosmic wind
to touch my face,
when it did I looked again
into a different place.
The starry sky is fleeing now
to stage a dance
in deep blue, beyond the Plough 
another chance to glance.
John imagined the waves of time
as blue swept spaces
that curve deep into the mind
to race to other places.
I dived to join the dancing lights
to hold one white
star of fiery ice by rights.
Ah, Vincent, coloured night 
of crescent moon, clouds roll, 
from star to star, 
an unlit dark cypress hole 
stretches space. Au revoir.

© Ian Ritchie 2010

I live with some of John Hoyland’s paintings. They are fugitive images that evoke worlds other than the physical ones that we have been taught exist. They imitate nothing and I cannot walk past them without looking.  They are deep. When I look I feel I am privately interviewing John, not with questions and words or through conversation, but soul to soul – a language of the spirit. There appears to be no difference between his life in colour and his paintings. He seems to exist to paint.

I visited his studio for the first time just three years ago, and I saw the evidence of a creative journey compressed into those boards beneath his feet, his shoes walking through his past self, on his own memories and travails. Outside, below is a railway cutting and a squint of the London sky above. This is an urban studio, not a romantic studio bathed in light. His notebooks are his aide memoire – containing both visual impressions alongside his own, and others’ written thoughts. He is an incisive writer.