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David Hayward spent his early years in rural mid-Wales before studying art at Cheltenham, Canterbury, Brighton and the Royal College. He was a Professor & Deputy Head of College at the University for the Creative Arts and Professor of Visual Arts at Canterbury Christ Church University. He left academe in 2009 to pursue his own creative practice and has a studio in the Kent Downs near Canterbury. His work is in numerous private collections.
David is primarily an abstract painter but uses his interest in the morphology of landscape and the peculiarities of specific locations to inform his work. The images in this exhibition are a painterly contemplation on the marginality of shorelines and estuaries with their horizontal delineations of air, water and land and the transient nature of weather, erosion and the detritus of tidelines. But, rather than depict these places topographically, he uses them to explore how such physicality and transience might be reflected through the qualities and colour of a painting’s surface.
It is this interest in surface qualities that has led him to use encaustic (oil paint dissolved in heated beeswax) as his primary medium. It is a process that allows him to manipulate surfaces by incising and scraping away layers to reveal underpainting or by embedding discarded fragments from earlier work into a painting’s surface. These acts of burying and excavating, embedding and revealing offer painterly parallels to the way landscape contains evidence of its own formation.
Encaustic is a process that involves dissolving pigment into molten wax. The earliest known examples are Greek and Egyptian dating back over 3,000 years. After the fall of the Roman empire, encaustic fell into relative obscurity. Egg tempura and later oil paint, were cheaper and easier to use and became encaustic’s successors. The 20th century saw a resurgence of encaustic and it has been used by Diego Rivera, James Ensor and, most notably, the American artist Jasper Johns.