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.
Text Source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)