J.B. Boyd

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Born 1978 Montclair, New Jersey


“I want pictorial content without sentiment, but I want it as human as possible.” -Gerhard Richter


“It is the instant that makes the mosaic of life a reality, and it is the gift of the artist to translate that moment back to you, the viewer. And make no mistake, it is your reality, your moment, and I hope it is beautiful. Because in the end life is beautiful, and the harder you look the more perfect and complete it may be.” – J.B. Boyd


J.B. Boyd is a professional vagabond in search of place. This search is as ambiguous as it is elusive, like the horizon line in the distance. Always changing, it slowly and subtly reveals the continual variation of landscape. Boyd’s oil paintings translate those quiet moments of life into individual epochs that are his paintings. Professionally trained at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, his style can best be described as a modern update of the American Landscape tradition. Boyd paints exclusively in oils, not only for the extended length of time they allow him to complete sections of paintings, but for the rich depth of color that he can pull from them.


The artist’s process begins with a place, and often the journey to get there. Boyd photographs each place using wide format techniques, perched atop a ladder, up a mast, or belly down in the mud to gain the specific perspective that he feels the place demands. From these series of photographs, Boyd creates a compilation of images to use as a reference for each location. Somewhere between those references (which are used for the detail the photograph captures) and his memory of the place (feelings and emotions represented in color and hues) is where the painting will ultimately lie. At this point Boyd cuts the panel for the painting, prepares it, and makes its frame all to his exacting standards. He paints the first layer of opaque paint as a form of rough draft, trying to pull out the color and shapes that represent the place. Once the surface of the painting is fully covered, the artist studies what he has done, deciding where the painting needs to go. This process can take days, weeks, or sometimes a month or more simply staring and deciding while he works on other projects. Once he knows, Boyd sands down the painting to remove the history of surface manipulation (brushstrokes, panel imperfections, etc.) leaving a glass-like surface of paint and painting ground. Boyd then mixes new colors against the colors he used in the first layer to make very specific, finite changes in the tones and hues. From there he is freed to focus solely on the detail, which is captured in stunning fashion in the second layer of opaque paint. Often a mostly transparent glaze layer will follow over the second layer to highlight the intrinsic atmosphere. Finally the painting is varnished to unify the painting surface, once again dictated by the demands of the place. For example a seascape may have a matte varnish for the sky, which transitions to satin for the distant water, which transitions to glossy for the foreground water, mimicking nature’s design. 


Lulled here by the promise of many a long, low horizon line, J.B. Boyd has kept Charleston as a home base for nearly fifteen years, though interrupted by travels far and wide, many of which are recorded in his paintings. He moved here from the mountains of Jackson Hole, Wyoming in 2004, preceded by the oceans of California, living in both Monterey and Los Angeles. He graduated in 2000 from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Boyd began painting in earnest at the age of fifteen and is most proud (too proud, we think) of being voted most artistic of his kindergarten class.


Before joining RL•S, Boyd has shown his work in Los Angeles at The Space and in New York City at Spike Gallery. And since, he has received national acclaim for his solo shows here at the gallery, been included in various international juried exhibitions, and won the Griffith-Reyburn Lowcountry Artist of the Year grant in 2013.



Robert Lange Studios