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SCOT HEYWOOD


SC OT HE Y W OO D


SHIFT | STACK | SUNYATA


SHIFTING THE VOID

Broadway Boogie-Woogie, Piet Mondrian’s penultimate painting, expresses the rhythmic pulse of movement on the streets of New York – the city to which he emigrated from Europe during the Second World War – using only geometric shape and color; red, yellow, blue, and grey rectangles interspersed among a yellow grid on a white ground. Conjuring movement from simple oblongs is no easy feat. Scot Heywood achieves it in every painting.

In a 2012 interview, Heywood describes the evolution of his painting style by saying, “The big thing was I bumped into Mondrian, you know, somewhere in maybe 1977, ’78 and that changed everything.” While the connection between the works of Mondrian and Heywood may not be readily apparent, the genesis of Heywood’s mature style, his eureka moment, came while laying out monochromatic panels on the loor in a Mondrian-like grid. Unlike Mondrian’s painted grid lines, the physical divisions of the panels formed a grid without the drawn line. The panel alignment sparked an epiphany when, in the artists’ words, he slipped one of the panels.

This seemingly

simple act fractured the rectangular ield and created tension as if manifesting gravity’s pull.

Geometric abstraction, the art historical precedent to Heywood’s paintings, has a storied history in Los Angeles, the city where Heywood was born in 1951 and still resides. Beginning in the late 1940’s a number of Los Angeles-based artists pursued non-representational painting employing geometric form. Four of these artists – Karl Benjamin, Lorser Feitelson, Frederick Hammersley, and John McLaughlin – gained prominence when they were featured in the 1959 exhibition Four Abstract Classicists at


the Los Angeles Museum of Art (now the Los Angeles County Museum of Art) and the San Francisco Museum of Art (now the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art).

Three of the four Abstract Classicists, McLaughlin excluded, began painting in a representational style and then gradually developed abstract methods. Heywood, like McLaughlin, never abstracted from nature, but rather arrived directly at non-representational painting. Also, like McLaughlin, the evidence of the artist’s hand is visible in Heywood’s paintings. McLaughlin’s pencil drawn outlines and small paint strokes are apparent upon close inspection. Heywood varies the surface texture of his paintings by employing diferent brush strokes – crosshatch, diagonal, vertical, or horizontal – on alternate panels within one painting. The surface texture is also sometimes diferentiated by the painting’s support, large rectangles are canvas and thin rectangles are solid wood. These diferences subtly energize the surface and enhance the sense of movement by adding visual weight to the thinner, shifted panels.

The format of Heywood’s paintings, two or three panels held in stasis while one or two others slip outside rectangular boundaries, generates a tensile equilibrium producing perceptual movement, like the strong yet graceful gestures of T’ai chi ch’uan, the Chinese martial art. T’ai chi movements resist force by yielding to and redirecting it. Looking at a Scot Heywood painting induces a similar contradiction, a feeling of dynamic tranquility.

The painting Sunyata – Yellow, White, Black, Canvas is a prime example of this phenomenon. Two proportionate large rectangles, one yellow and one white, counterbalance the right and left sides of the painting. Tensely held between these two


large planes are two thinner rectangles, one painted black and the other raw canvas painted with a transparent matte medium. The black panel slips below the edge of the painting, a force redirected. The slipped panel engenders a sense that any moment it may slide back up into place. Then again, it might slide above the painting’s top edge. The viewer’s mind pushes and pulls the errant plane back into line. This cognitive movement – push/pull/push, tension/release/tension – is the energy within every Scot Heywood painting.

The inclusion of colorless raw canvas rectangles abutting immaculately painted color blocks, in Sunyata – Yellow, White, Black, Canvas and other recent works, introduces a new element to Heywood’s paintings. Slight imperfections and color variations in the canvas show through the painted matte medium. As with the slipped panels, additional tension is created between the pristine and the rough, natural rectangles. Like a crack running through a smooth ceramic vase, this dichotomy gives the painting a wabi- sabi aesthetic. Originating in Buddhism, wabi-sabi, in its simpliied modern use, is the beauty of imperfection. The inclusion of the imperfect elevates Heywood’s paintings by grounding their form and color in nature without actually representing natural elements.

The painting’s title references another Buddhist philosophy. Translated from the Sanskrit, sunyata means emptiness or voidness. Heywood describes the term as meaning “no mind, no thought.” The concept of the void was eloquently incorporated in Western painting by McLaughlin, whose paintings were deeply inluenced by the sixteenth century Japanese Buddhist priest and painter Sesshū Tōyō. In the catalogue for his 1963 Pasadena Art Museum exhibition, McLaughlin explains:


Certain Japanese painters of centuries ago found the means to overcome the demands imposed by the object by the use of large areas of empty space. This space was described by Sesshu as the “Marvelous Void.” Thus the viewer was induced to “enter” the painting unconscious of the dominance of the object. Consequently there was no compulsion to ponder the signiicance of the object as such. On the contrary, the condition of “Man versus Nature” was reversed to that of man at one with nature and enabled the viewer to seek his own identity free from the sufocating inality of the conclusive statement. Like McLaughlin, Scot Heywood employs the rectangle as a neutral form – a void – to induce clear-headed meditation and contemplation by the viewer. In Heywood’s paintings, the void is activated by a shift of planes creating perceptual movement. By yielding to force and redirecting it, dynamic energy and lyrical movement pulses within each painting. This simple act transforms static shapes into active constructions which engage the mind in contemplation. --Robert Hayden III, January 2017 i. Scot Heywood, interview by Frank Lloyd, Scot Heywood Polarities, Vimeo, June 28, 2012. ii. Ibid. iii. Four Abstract Classicists. Jules Langsner. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum, 1959. Published in conjunction with the exhibition of the same name. iv. Norio Masuchika, Glenn. “Problems of Scholar-Created, Synonymous Subject Terms in Buddhism.” Library Review 63.4 (2014): 252. ProQuest. Web. 30 Jan. 2017. v. Scot Heywood, interview by Frank Lloyd. vi. John McLaughlin: A Retrospective Exhibition. John McLaughlin. Pasadena, Calif.: Pasadena Art Museum, 1963. Published in conjunction with the exhibition of the same name.


S U N YATA YE L L O W, WHIT E, BL A C K , C A NVA S, 2016 AC RY LIC ON CA NVA S 54 X 88.5”


S TA C K WHIT E, C A NVA S, BL A C K, 2016 A C RYLI C ON C A NVA S 36 X 38”


S TA CK RED, C A NVA S, 2016 AC RYL IC O N C A NVA S 24 X 28.5”


S TAC K C A NVA S, BL A C K , G RAY, 2016 A CRYLI C ON C A NVA S 36 X 38”


S HI FT GREY, BLU E 2016 ACRY LIC ON CA NVA S 60 X 50”


S H I F T YEL LO W, BLA C K , 2016 A CRYL IC O N C A NVA S 24 X 24”


S TA CK BLA C K O N BL A C K, 2016 A CRYLI C ON C A NVA S 24 X 28.5”


S TAC K , B LA C K , GREEN, W HITE, 2016 ACRY LIC ON C A NVA S 55. 5 X 56”


S TAC K R E D, Y ELL OW, BLA C K , 2016 A CRYLI C ON C A NVA S 55 X 56”


S TA C K B L A CK , WHIT E, C A NVA S, 2016 A C RYLI C ON C A NVA S 70. 25 X 74”


S TAC K C A NVA S, BL U E, 2016 ACRY LIC ON CA NVA S 48 X 48”


S H I F T C A NVA S, BL A C K, 2016 A CRYL IC O N C A NVA S 36 X 38”


S TA C K BLA CK , C A NVA S 2016 A CRYL IC O N C A NVA S 24 X 28. 5”


SHI FT RED, G RAY 2016 ACRYL IC O N C A NVA S 38 X 38”


S TAC K BLU E , C A NVA S, 2016 ACRY LIC ON CA NVA S 24 X 28.5”


STACK GRAY, CANVAS, WHITE, 2016 ACRYLIC ON CANVAS 36 X 38”


STACK BLACK, GRAY, 2016 ACRYLIC ON CANVAS 36.5 X 38”


SHIFT RED ON RED, 2016 ACRYLIC ON CANVAS 48 X 48”


SUNYATA - GRAY, WHITE, CANVAS, YELLOW, 2016 ACRYLIC ON CANVAS 54 x 88.5


CV / BIO Born 1951, Los Angeles, California Lives and works in Los Angeles, California

Scot Heywood has pursued a course of non-representational, geometric abstract painting for more than 30 years. A self-taught artist, Heywood’s works are indebted to the origins of geometric abstraction in such artists as Kasimir Malevich and Piet Mondrian, though he has crafted a thoroughly personal interpretation. The artist’s exquisite attention to detail and presentation are evident in the careful placement of individual panels, as well as the reined diagonal layering of paint.

A viewer would be mistaken to consider Heywood’s paintings to be standard examples of the minimalist monochrome. His work invites extended contemplation, and engages with viewers on visual, physical and conceptual levels. David Pagel of the Los Angeles Times has written on the experience of regarding Heywood’s work, explaining that, “To stand before one of these paintings, each of which is the size of a generously scaled doorway, is to ind your whole body involuntarily adjusting itself to the subtly out-of-whack geometry of Heywood’s art.”

It is this disorienting geometry that characterizes Scot Heywood’s art. Small but unexpected asymmetries and careful “notches” disrupt the smooth rectangularity


of his wood and canvas surfaces, creating a dialogue between form and color that implicates the space of the gallery. Daniella Walsh for THE Magazine described the sophisticated game being played here when she wrote that Heywood’s works “establish a new perceptual reality, incorporating the wall as negative space.” In this way, the walls of the gallery become part of the work, functioning as more than a passive backdrop for the paintings. The relationship between the walls, the works, and the viewers are all held up for examination. In this atmosphere, the works take on architectural qualities. According to Jody Zellen of Artweek, they then allow for an exploration of “the relationships between presence and absence with respect to a given architectural space.”

Scot has shown frequently in Southern California since the late 1970s. His work has been featured in over a dozen solo shows, and is often included in signiicant group exhibitions such as Marks and Movement: Five Painters at the Santa Monica College Barret Gallery in 2011. His paintings are also represented in numerous collections, including the Frederick Weisman Foundation.


SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2017 Shift, Stack, Sunyata, Peter Blake Gallery, Laguna

2015 Summer Group Show, Peter Blake Gallery, Laguna

Beach, California

Beach, California

2015 James Hayward, Scot Heywood, John M. Miller,

2013 20th Anniversary Group Show, Peter Blake Gallery,

Peter Blake Gallery, Laguna Beach, California

Laguna Beach, California

2014 Joe Goode, Scot Heywood, John M. Miller, Peter

2013 Polyform: Larry Bell, Scot Heywood, Gustavo

Blake Gallery, Laguna Beach, California

PĂŠrez, and Mark Pharis, Frank Lloyd Gallery, Santa

2013 A Survey of Large Paintings 2006-2013, Santa

Monica, California

Monica College Pete and Susan Barrett Art Gallery, Santa

2013 Spring Group Show, Peter Blake Gallery, Laguna

Monica, California (catalogue)

Beach, California

2013 A Survey of Small Paintings, Frank Lloyd Gallery,

2012 California Abstract Painting 1952-2011 (Curated by

Santa Monica, California (catalogue)

James Hayward)

2012 Polarities, Frank Lloyd Gallery, Santa Monica,

2012 Woodbury University Nan Rae Gallery, Burbank,

California

California

2010 Recent Works, Peter Blake Gallery, Laguna Beach,

2012 Transcending Abstraction III, Peter Blake Gallery,

California

Laguna Beach, California

2009 New Paintings, Frank Lloyd Gallery, Santa Monica,

2011 Less is More, Subliminal Projects Gallery, Los

California

Angeles, California

2009 Peter Blake Gallery, Laguna Beach, California

2011 Marks and Movement: Five Painters, Edith

2008 Peter Blake Gallery, Laguna Beach, California

Baumann, James Hayward, Scot Heywood, John M.

2005 Hunsaker/Schlesinger Fine Art, Santa Monica,

Miller & Ed Moses, Santa Monica College Pete and Susan

California

Barrett Art Gallery, Santa Monica, California,

2003 Chac Mool Gallery, Los Angeles, California

2011 Three Abstract Painters: John McLaughlin, James

2000 Chac Mool Gallery, Los Angeles, California

Hayward, Scot Heywood, Frank Lloyd Gallery, Santa

1998 Chac Mool Gallery, Los Angeles, California

Monica, California

1995 Ace Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles,

2009 Lita Albuquerque, Scot Heywood and Andy Moses,

California

Peter Blake Gallery, Laguna Beach, California

1994 Ace Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles,

2008 Planes and Surfaces: James Hayward, Larry Bell,

California

Scot Heywood, Wouter Dam, Frank Lloyd Gallery, Santa

1992 Ace Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles,

Monica, California

California

2008 Fifteen Years/ Fifteen Artists, Peter Blake Gallery,

1990 Kiyo Higashi Gallery, Los Angeles, California

Laguna Beach, California

1989 Newspace, Los Angeles, California

2008 Color Blind: Black, White and Grey in

1987 Newspace, Los Angeles, California

Contemporary Art, Cardwell Jimmerson Contemporary

1986 Newspace, Los Angeles, California

Art, Los Angeles, California


2008 Tony DeLap and Scot Heywood, Peter Blake

1992 Group Show, Burnett Miller Gallery, Los Angeles,

Gallery, Laguna Beach, California

California

2007 Black and White, Frank Lloyd Gallery, Santa

1991 Group Show, Kiyo Higashi Gallery, Los Angeles,

Monica, California

California

2007 Monochrome Painting: Some Versions from Ad

1989 Art and Soul, Pence Gallery, Los Angeles, California

Reinhardt to Present, Cardwell Jimmerson Contemporary

Los Angeles Current Abstract Painting, Marc Richards

Art, Los Angeles, California

Gallery, Los

2007 West Coast Abstraction, Peter Blake Gallery,

Angeles, California

Laguna Beach, California

1988 Primary Abstraction: Los Angeles, Modernism

2006 A Little So Cal Abstraction, Mandarin Gallery, Los

Gallery, San Francisco, California

Angeles, California

1985 Black and White Drawings from the David Nellis

2006 That’s Hot, Charlotte Jackson Fine Art, Santa Fe,

Collection, California State University, Los Angeles,

New Mexico

California

2000 Spring Fever, Charlotte Jackson Fine Art, Santa Fe,

1985 Tenth Anniversary Exhibition, Newspace, Los

New Mexico

Angeles, California

2000 Luminous, Ikon, Ltd./Kay Richards Contemporary

1985 Divisions: Seven Los Angeles Painters, Los Angeles

Art, Los Angeles, California

Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, California

2000 Simply Complex: Monochromatic Paintings from

1984 New Clear Painting, Newspace, Los Angeles,

L.A. (Curated by Reuben M. Baron and Joan Boykoff

California

Baron) Dorsky Gallery, New York

1983 New Abstract Painters from Los Angeles, San

2000, Patricia Sweetow Gallery, San Francisco, California

Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, California

1999 Under 500/Intimate Abstract Painting, Black

1982 In the Tradition, Group Studio Show, Los Angeles,

Dragon Society, Los Angeles, California

California

1998 Starting with McLaughlin, Patricia Faure Gallery,

1980 Abstract Painting, Los Angeles Institute of

Los Angeles, California

Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, California

1997 Abstraction in Los Angeles, New Image Art, Los

1979 Group Exhibition, Vanguard Gallery, Los Angeles,

Angeles, California

California

1996 Red Painting, Newspace, Los Angeles, California 1994 Plane/Structures, Otis Gallery, Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, California (Curated by David Pagel) 1994 In Plane Sight: Abstract Painting in Los Angeles (Curated by Frances Colpitt), Blue Star Art Space, San Antonio, Texas 1992 New L.A. Abstraction, Art Gallery, College of the Mainlands, Texas City, Texas


S C OT H E YWO OD 1989 LO S AN G ELE S CA


T H I S CATA LO G U E H A S B E E N P U B L I S H E D O N T H E O C CA S I O N O F T H E E X H I B I T I O N

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PETER BLAKE GALLERY

SCOT HEYWOOD EXHIBITION CATALOG  
SCOT HEYWOOD EXHIBITION CATALOG  
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