b. 1988, United Kingdom

Gabriella Boyd Biography

Gabriella Boyd is a Scottish artist who makes abstract and figurative paintings. Her artistic practice considers the dynamic of relationships between people in everyday life. Boyd depicts intimacy and human connection through her use of vivid colour and expressionistic form.

Read More

Boyd was shortlisted for the John Moores Painting Prize in 2016.

She currently lives and works in London.

Early Years

Boyd was born 1988 in Glasgow, Scotland, and she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the Glasgow School of Art in 2011.

In 2016, for five months Boyd attended the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf Arts Academy in Germany. She then attended the Royal Academy Schools between 2014 and 2017, where she specialised in painting using oil on canvas and linen.

Following her graduation, Boyd began working on much larger canvases using drawings, photographs, observations, and recollected memories for inspiration. She began to experiment with small works on paper to help her plan larger compositions. By developing her practice into greater spatial dimensions, Boyd explores the importance of awareness of one's own body and investigates her physical relationship to the environment being conveyed in her paintings.

Gabriella Boyd Artworks

Boyd's artwork aims to create a space believable enough for viewers to imagine being in it. Initially, she paints a realistic environment with a solid structure featuring everyday furniture. Gradually, she rearranges the space to make it more theatrical and surreal. Each painting depicts a carefully created set that aims to bridge the gap between reality and Boyd's fabricated, dreamlike world.

For Days Paintings (2020)

In this series of work, Boyd depicts shapes and forms that are suggestive of figures coming together in times of care or need. Despite beginning work on the series before the COVID pandemic, Boyd's series reflects on the claustrophobia and isolation illness can cause in everyday life.

Boyd's 'For Days Paintings' (2020) considers tender interactions between people and how it feels to be in, or become aware of, one's body. Boyd's artwork aims to conjure feelings of self-awareness in viewers while capturing the strangeness of the world.

Signal Paintings (2022)

Boyd's 'Signal Paintings' (2022) are a series of works she made for a solo exhibition at Friends Indeed Gallery in San Francisco. The colourful paintings are all made from oil on canvas and linen, and range between smaller canvases of 15.7 × 19.7 inches and larger canvases of 70.9 × 82.7 inches.

For this series of paintings, Boyd examines themes of desire, care, and support structures. She is interested in depicting different types of relationships like familial and romantic connections. Boyd conveys human intimacies in her work by giving physical form and colour to things like bodily sensations of touch, pain, and pressure or sensory movements like breathing, heartbeat, and blood flow.

Despite being invisible to the eye, Boyd captures the human body's peripheral energy on canvas using expressive shapes and deep colours like blood-red and greenish-yellow.

In her painting The Train (2022), Boyd uses the visceral impact of colour to create a narrative. The sickly yellow-green background represents a bodily yet toxic fluid, while the red spots in between the two figures represent cells and flowers. Boyd's paradox between disease and ornament gives form and colour to our internal body. By doing so, she provokes in us an ability to visualise the invisible.

Public Commissions

In 2015, Boyd was commissioned to illustrate a new edition of Sigmund Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams by the Folio Society in London.

For this project, Boyd painted ten original illustrations that depict intriguing scenes from Freud's seminal text. Using oils, Boyd's paintings are fragmented and distorted, much like a dreamlike narrative. Her paintings complement Freud's ideas and intrigue viewers by blending real and imagined spaces together.

Awards and Accolades

Boyd's work is included in private and public collections, including that of the Arts Council, the Royal Academy of Arts, the Walker Art Gallery, the Saatchi Gallery, and her work is also included in the Creative Cities Collection.


Boyd has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions. Solo exhibitions include: Signal, Friends Indeed, San Fransisco (2022); For Days, Seventeen, London (2020); Help Yourself, Blain Southern, London (2018);

Group exhibitions include: Mixing it up: Painting Today, Hayward Gallery, London (2021); Here We Are in Croydon, Josh Lilley, London (2021); Fifteen Painters, Andrew Kreps, New York (2021); Reconfigured, Timothy Taylor, New York (2021); Fragmented Bodies, Albertz Benda, New York (2020); The Garden, Royal Academy, London (2019); Preparing For What?, Josh Lilley, London (2019); The London Open, Whitechapel Gallery, London (2018); and Dreamers Awake, White Cube Bermondsey, London (2017).

Website and Instagram

Gabriella Boyd's website can be found here. Her Instagram can be found here.

Phoebe Bradford | Ocula | 2022

Gabriella Boyd Featured Artworks

Map by Gabriella Boyd contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Gabriella Boyd Map, 2021 Oil on canvas
160 x 120 cm
Andrew Kreps Gallery Contact Gallery
Retina (ii) by Gabriella Boyd contemporary artwork painting
Gabriella Boyd Retina (ii), 2021 Oil on canvas
160 x 120 cm
Andrew Kreps Gallery Contact Gallery

Gabriella Boyd In Ocula Magazine

In Ocula Advisory

Follow Gabriella Boyd
Sign up and stay ahead.
When new artworks, exhibitions and articles are added.
Get updates when this happens and more.
New works are often added to the artist's profile.
Get updates when this happens and more.
Sign Up Follow