Most people want to talk about how these paintings are made or how they smell. I want to talk about how they are seen, how they look. These delicately nuanced paintings looked amazing in in spite of or possibly because of the bad gallery lighting. They hummed, and I couldn't seem to walk away, because the longer I was there, the more they offered. These photos are only a partial viewing of a much more comprehensive view, particularly one of surface detail.
What's black and white and red all over, I could imagine Jimmy saying. For those who know him, know his brand of humor well. Nothing about these paintings seem funny, yet the personality behind them is fantastically so, a real cut up. Here a slash, there a slash, everywhere a slash. Oh, wait, I'm starting to talk about process, but I think it is important to think about how they are read as red.
As a personal aside, I met Jimmy while I was in grad school; he was one of my instructors, particularly on days when I was painting. Occasionally, he would drop in, take a seat, and say nothing. My studio lights were usually off and the modest ambient light from a skylight twenty feet above would cast a dim, moody condition. Of course, there's a lot more light in a room, if a certain amount of time is taken to adjust. Similarly in this exhibition of Hayward's painting, as I moved deeper into the viewing exhibition of this suite of works (musical to be sure), the inner "red room," let's call it, glowed with faint light which instantly recalled the "events" of a somber Rothko (in all the best ways possible). Not quite a chapel, it certainly was an interior space for contemplation not unlike the dozing, downward meditation of absorbing minimal light in a paltry graduate studio. This connection is one of immeasurable depth and words do not reach this far. Jimmy once told me to "get rid of all that black." I tried, but never finished...
While my viewing of Hayward's "At Last" conjured moments of personal relation and reflection, there's nothing in these paintings that requires such connections. They stand alone as paintings pure and simple. The joys of looking have to do with paint itself, movement, light, time and space. None of my images here capture them well, not even close. That these works defy photographic reproduction, for example, and can only exist in a present viewing moment is part of what makes them great. I thought briefly about REDRUM and red rooms in Kubrick's The Shining and Jack Goldstein's Burning Window and Aphorisms, an exhibition running concurrently just down the road at 1301PE; it too seemed to about the ineffable, phenomenal aspects of white, black, and red in relation to the shortcomings between language and direct experience. Mostly, however, I enjoyed the subtleties within the paintings hanging right in front of me. I couldn't seem to walk away from them as I noted a heaviness and still presence in the air. For whatever reasons, I was glad to have caught them getting on towards twilight.