Artist Mark Boyle, 71, Dies in London

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Artist Mark Boyle, 71, Dies in London
Mark Boyle, Holland Park Avenue Study, 1967.

LONDON, ENGLAND.- Artist Mark Boyle, 71, died in London. He was born in Glasgow in 1934. Boyle Family are a family of collaborative artists based in London. They are Mark Boyle & Joan Hills & their children Sebastian & Georgia. Both Scottish, Mark & Joan met in Harrogate, Yorkshire in 1957. Joan had studied art & architecture & was bringing up her first son Cameron whilst running her own business. Mark was in the army, writing poetry. After a period of working separately they began working together, agreeing that art should not exclude anything as a potential subject.

Wherever Mark & Joan lived was the studio, so it always seemed natural & necessary that friends & family should be co opted in to help whenever there was a big show going off or an event to put on. Over the years they have worked with many artists, performers, musicians, filmmakers & dancers including Jimi Hendrix & the psychedelic jazz-rock pioneers Soft Machine.

From very early on Sebastian & Georgia went around the studio, doing bits here & there & gradually getting more & more involved: going on working trips, expeditions & helping to finalise & hang exhibitions. Originally the work went under Mark's name largely because Mark & Joan felt too broke & too weak to fight the stereotype. Labels never mattered to them. It was the work that was important, not the labels or the marketing or the image. If the artworld wanted to believe in obsessed, lone male artists starving in their studios, well so be it. They & their friends knew the score, Mark Boyle works were Mark & Joan works. Gradually this became accepted & they exhibited as Mark Boyle & Joan Hills. Since 1985 the four of them have exhibited as Boyle Family.

Their best known work, however, continues to be their Journey to the Surface of the Earth. Begun in 1964, this work encompasses many different series & projects including: the London Series, Tidal Series, Thaw Series, Japan Series & their lifelong project, the World Series. Each of these series has involved various random selection techniques to isolate a rectangle of the Earth's surface. In the case of the World Series 1000 random selections were made from a giant map of the world by blindfolded visitors to the exhibition at London's ICA in 1969.

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