One of Britain's leading non-figurative painters, since the 1950s John Hoyland has retained a close connection to the art of the United States and Europe. In particular, the great abstractionist paintings of Pollock and Rothko have asserted a powerful influence on Hoyland's work, as have the works of Spanish tachiste Antonio Tapies. Ultimately for Hoyland, however, "My painting is a reality which is part of myself, a reality that I cannot reveal in words." (J. Hoyland in M. Gooding, John Hoyland, London, 1990, p.8).
In Hoyland's works from the late 1980s, the arabesque motif apparent in Hating and Dreaming becomes increasingly prominent, serving as "a line of pure helical energy, a vital image of the individuating life force in the cosmic chaos. Describing the sweep of the sorcerer's arm, commanding form to emerge from the oceanic matrix, it is an image of the artist's creative gesture, a signature, a sign." (Ibid, p.22).