J. Carl [Paintings] HEYWOOD
It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of our dear friend John Carl Heywood. He was an extremely gifted artist and considered worldwide as a quintessential Master in the techniques of print making. Carl truly personified his motto “Carpe Diem” and was an absolute joy of a human being.
Over the last year, Carl had spent many hours here with us at the mardenart gallery. Undaunted by the scope of the “Heywood Project” (the cataloging of his lifework), he was always eager to recount stories about the people he had met, his adventurous experiences as an artist and his extensive travels. He will be greatly missed among all of the staff here. You will find the official obituary below also published in several newspapers across Canada.
OBITUARY - J.C. Heywood
BY PIERRE DU PREY
Acclaimed print-maker J. C. Heywood died on 1 December 2022 in Montreal at age 81. From 1976 until his retirement in 2006 Professor Carl Heywood taught printmaking to Queen's students in the Bachelor of Fine Art program. He combined modesty with supreme assurance in the mastery of his technique. His gifts as a born communicator together with his great generosity of spirit endeared him to colleagues and aspiring artists at Queen's.
After studying at the Ontario College of Art, Carl continued perfecting his talent in print-studios around the world, notably in Japan and Paris where, in 1969, he met his wife, German-born artist Renate Heywood. He is represented in collections all over North America and Europe. The Bibliothèque Nationale du Québec houses his life's work in recognition of his great attachment to the province. At the Trois-Rivières print-biennale he won international recognition on two consecutive occasions. And the Canada Council for the Arts recognized his preeminence with numerous study-grants. A retrospective exhibition of his prints toured across Canada from 2008 – 2010.
An inveterate and deeply sensitive world-traveler, Carl Heywood immersed himself in the cultures of France, Japan, Egypt, Iran, Cambodia, and especially his beloved India. He captured the teeming life of that country in remarkable still photographs. He collected Eastern and south Asian fabrics and absorbed their vibrant colors into his art. At the same time, he paid lighthearted tribute to the inspiration he had received from Western artists past and present: whether the realism of Dutch Old Masters; the multi-layered dynamism of the Cubists; or fellow Canadian print-makers like his Queen's colleague Otis Tamasauskas, with whom he collaborated closely.
The artistry of Carl Barks' early Walt Disney comic books and the radio-antics of the comedians Bob & Ray delighted Carl's funny-side. He loved hiking, biking, white-water canoeing in Frontenac Provincial Park, and swimming. In his late seventies he was known to take dips in the Lachine Canal, outside the home in Montreal where he had moved with Renate. On a nostalgic last visit to Kingston this past August, he peddled all over the city.
Carl Heywood's life and art embodied the spirit of his upbeat personal motto, Carpe Diem -- seize the day! That boundless, joyful energy lives on in his prints, paintings, photographs, and in the memory of the many friends he made during his immensely productive career in the visual arts, much of it spent at Queen's University.
Canadian contemporary artist J. Carl Heywood was born in Ontario and has maintained a prolific career as both artist and print maker for over sixty years. After the sudden death of his father, fourteen-year-old Heywood realized that life was too short to not pursue ones dreams and aspiration. After high school, his friends and family helped raise funds for him to attend art school as he aspired for a bigger, brighter future. In 1959, Heywood entered the Ontario College of Art (OCA) where he received traditional fine art training. In turn, he developed a love for art, drawing and technical virtuosity. However, the lack of conceptual strategies prompted him to seek them elsewhere. After four years of painting and teaching in the small Ontario region, he traveled to Montreal looking for a ship to France. Hayter’s "Atelier 17", a print workshop founded in Paris in 1927 became his destination.
Heywood arrived in Paris by the late 1960’s; a time of of student demonstrations, radical politics and sexual experimentation. He acquired a studio from artist Madelaine Young and setup his own printmaking facility which he would use at night. During the day, he worked at Hayter’s atelier on rue Daguerre where he learnt a complicated series of etching techniques and inking processes. His training at Atelier 17 gave Heywood new options and aesthetic alternatives to his formal OCA training; transforming the provincial amateur into an accomplished professional.
Heywood has exhibited his prints internationally in Berlin, Taiwan, Norway, Yugoslavia, Poland, China and New Mexico. His prints are part of permanent collections in over twenty-three different museums worldwide; the New York Metropolitan Museum, the MOMA, the AGO and the "Musée d’art moderne de Paris", among others.
Heywood’s production style may be described as a sustained study of visual language. He composes his creations in a musical way; with tension and repose, arrangements of line and shape, chords and nuances of colour, tonalities of dark and light, shallow and deep space, contrast and harmony, varieties of texture and of treatment. Since the 1970's, he has pursued these formal concerns often with still life imagery whether it be through etching, lithography, screen printing or digital means.
With regards to his painting techniques, which he only entertained once retired in 2006, the artist begins with a collage and/or constructions, which are then digitally transferred onto the canvas. These compositional foundations evolve in different ways as they are developed into painted images by enhancing them with acrylic mediums. Heywood’s artistic process satisfies his endless curiosity, his need for invention and his desire for exploration of the image in progress.