Arts for Health MK: Twenty for Twenty

Fionnuala Boyd
Circle by Glynn Williams

Circle by Glynn Williams from the Milton Keynes University Hospital Collection.

In the next instalment of our Twenty for Twenty series, we ask artist and former Arts for Health trustee Fionnuala Boyd to select an artwork from the Milton Keynes University Hospital Art Collection.

Which work in The Collection have you chosen to talk about?

Glynn Williams, Circle, carved from Ancaster stone.

When and how did you first see it?

I don’t remember when I first saw this work. I have a long association with the hospital either as a trustee of Arts for Health, or as a producer of work, a little of which is in the Hospital. The years blend together.

What first interested or attracted you to this artwork?

I think I first noticed this work as perhaps being that of Glynn Williams who was a tutor of my partner Les Evans when we were both in Leeds as students in the 60s. It is indeed his work.

Do you remember how seeing this work made you feel?

For me this is a ‘slow-burn’ work, it’s very ‘thereness’ is unarguable. It is physically satisfying; nothing gets in the way of where it can take your thoughts.  I’m still not sure where it is but am reassured whenever I find it. The other day I was thrilled to find it turned a little, giving a new view. The ideal of being able to walk round a sculpture is not compatible with its safety in a Hospital setting so it is tucked into a corner. It doesn’t shout at you; it is a delight to discover – every time. A small sculpture holding a very big idea.

In general, what kind of impact do you think seeing art at MKUH has on your experience of being on the hospital site?

If art in hospitals was only useful as a way finder, a place marker, it would be doing a good job but it can do so much more.

What the viewer is receptive to depends so much on what is happening to them and why they are in the hospital. Not all art is relevant to all people, and often depends on timing. It is doing a good job if it can allow the viewer a means of taking their minds elsewhere.  It may also comfort by familiarity, or an alternative perspective.

Over the years I have heard a lot of opinions about what art should be like in Hospital, mostly concluding that red should be avoided and flowers are a safe bet! Hospitals are used by the general population with all the different views held there. Lots of good quality work, lots of changes and there is a chance of life enhancing viewing for the corridor walkers.

Long Strand (1996) Oil on Canvas by Boyd and Evans, from the Milton Keynes University Hospital Collection.

Contributor: Fionnuala Boyd
Artist Fionnuala Boyd is a former Trustee and long-term friend and supporter of Arts for Health MK. She and Les Evans (Boyd & Evans) have been working collaboratively since 1968. The Milton Keynes University Hospital art collection contains two artworks by the artists, Inside Out - a large scale photographic work, and Long Strand, and oil on canvas painting. 

One of their most well-known works in Milton Keynes is the large-scale canvas Fiction, Non-fiction and Reference, displayed in MK's Central Library. Boyd & Evans' fifty year collaboration was celebrated at MK Gallery in 2023 with a major survey exhibition entitled High Time.

Arts for Health Milton Keynes
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Milton Keynes Hospital
Standing Way
Milton Keynes

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Arts for Health Milton Keynes is the working name of MK Arts for Health charity number 1107625  company number 05137693