This body of paintings on recycled wood panels and old growth redwood is a continued exploration of how painter Raymond L. Haywood deals with and relates to the countless killings of African Americans in the United States. African Americans are 3.5 times more likely than Caucasian Americans to die at the hands of police. Living in this reality is both difficult and traumatizing. How does Haywood, as an African American male artist and educator cope?
In the documentary film James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket, Baldwin, nearing the end of his life, expressed his outrage and frustration: “What is it you want me to reconcile myself to? . . . You always told me it takes time. It has taken my father’s time, my mother’s time, my uncle’s time, my brothers’ and my sisters’ time, my nieces’ and my nephews’ time. How much time do you want for your ‘progress’?”
Haywood’s abstract expressionist painterly style has evolved into a three-dimensional sculptural expression of grief, fear, and chaos. In reflecting on the problem of race in America, he chooses art, ephemeral beauty, and transformation. Haywood’s paintings reflect the beauty inherent in African American culture, its creativity, and the subjective isolation as an arbiter of the race problem in America.
Raymond L. Haywood is a Berkeley, CA native and abstract expressionist painter. His studio is in the historic Carleton Street Studios, also in Berkeley. Haywood has taught junior college art classes and is currently a high school instructor of construction at Freedom High in Oakley, CA. Haywood received his BFA from the University of California at San Diego and his MFA from San Francisco State University. He is a founding member of the annual Art of the African Diaspora exhibition hosted by the Richmond Art Center.