Carpe Diem: J.C. Heywood from the Permanent Collection

  • J C Heywood, Memories of Paris, ed. E/A, 2001, serigraph on paper
  • J C Heywood, Carpe Diem II, 2002, serigraph on paper
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  • J C Heywood, Memories of Paris, ed. E/A, 2001, serigraph on paper
  • J C Heywood, Carpe Diem II, 2002, serigraph on paper
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“For me, creating images is the most wonderful of games… My idea of a good time is devising little worlds with their own inner structures, energies, and ideas engaging in visual dialogues with forces within and without. It is like swinging on a rope out into a river: a focus that engages me mentally, sensually physically, spiritually…a meditation, a joy.” (Carl Heywood)

Carl (J.C.) Heywood’s career spans 50 years. A master printmaker, Heywood trained at OCA where he studied woodblock and later discovered screenprinting; he went on to learn etching under Stanley William Hayter at Atelier 17 in Paris. He taught at Queens University for 32 years and continued to explore, gaining new skills through technological shifts.

In an interview with Walter Jule, Heywood said:

Picasso and Braque and others invented collage early in the 20th century as a way of forcing together visual experiences that didn’t belong together, just as our lives are filled with experiences that don’t really fit. … Since photography and printmaking have gotten together [in the 70s and 80s], artists at last have a perfect means of expression, including painting, collage, virtuoso drawing, photography, printed matter, and so forth. Add to that the total freedom and control of colour that you have in printmaking, and the traditional means of visual expression like painting and sculpture seem a bit restricting.

This selection of prints is from Heywood’s Millennium Works, a series interested in colour, the music of life, and the impulse to seize the day. In these works, reminders of death are subtle, an inversion of the Memento Mori genre. The reality of death was impressed upon Heywood at the young age of 14 when his father, then 41, died suddenly. Heywood has said that this experience led him to art and to a deep commitment in finding joy.

In these works, Heywood places loose abstraction beside tightly patterned renderings, each echoing the other to create playful and harmonious compositions. It feels celebratory and appropriate to present them here as spring turns to summer.

Both quotes can be found on the artist’s website: http://www.jcheywood.com