Woking, The Lightbox, The Ingram Collection: Dreams and Nightmares, 22 May – 15 July 2012;
Somerset, Hestercombe Gallery, A Personal Passion, 25 April – 5 July 2015;
Oxford, Brasenose College, 1 October 2019 – 30 September 2020
The game of bagatelle consists of small balls being struck into numbered holes with pins as obstructions. In this painting one cannot see the board or the balls – much is left unexplained, ambiguous. It seems that the artist wishes to tease the viewer with hints and traps of meaning in order to confuse interpretation. John Boyd’s paintings invite analysis and interpretation. His titles are highly original, complex ways into his work, often drawing on words which are riddles or conundrums. The images are also pictorial puzzles, playing with hidden faces and meanings, confusing the viewer’s understanding of the subject and message. His artist’s statement reads, “Artists should keep their eyes open and their mouths shut,” revealing him as an enigmatic character that prefers his paintings to do the speaking for him.