Associated with Post-Painterly Abstraction, Color Field painting, and Lyrical Abstraction. His 2007 work, "Lebanon," was a prime example of his work.
He attended the Sheffield School of Art and Crafts, where he would later work as a professor. He also studied at the Royal Academy Schools in London where his abstracts were ordered from the walls since the president didn't consider them to be real art. This action was subverted when another administrator showed the president that Hoyland could also paint landscapes.
He won the John Moores Painting Prize in 1982.
He was born into a working class family in Sheffield. Later in life, he had one child with his first wife Airi.
He was influenced by the work of Salvador Dali.