Carl Hazlewood
Carl Hazlewood

Carl Hazlewood received a Tree of Life Individual Artist Grant in 2017 for
Unfolding the Unsayable.


Carl Hazelwood received a BFA with honors from Pratt Institute and a MFA from Hunter College. He was co-founder of Aljira, A Center for Contemporary Art in Newark, NJ (1991) and  has since curated numerous exhibitions, lectured in Art History at New Jersey City University, and was visiting critic at numerous institutions. He’s associate editor for Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art (Duke University), and The Arts Journal: Critical Perspectives on Contemporary Literature, History, Art and Culture of Guyana and the Caribbean, Georgetown, Guyana. His writing has appeared in periodicals, including Flash Art International  Art Papers Magazine, and NY Arts Magazine. Book essays include, Terry Adkins: RECITAL, Tang Museum, Skidmore University, Saratoga, NY (upcoming), and the Dorsky Museum book/catalog, Andrew Light - FULL CIRCLE.

Hazlewood's artwork has been written about and referenced in publications including The New York Times, BOMB Magazine, and The Star Ledger, NJ. He had solo exhibitions in Brooklyn at the Knockdown Center, FiveMyles, and Long Island University, and group exhibiitons at Rush Arts Gallery, Central Booking Gallery, New Jersey State Museum, and Skoto Gallery. Most recently he was a resident at Headlands Center for the Arts, Yaddo, Vermont Studio Center, Art Omi and MacDowell Colony. His art is in the collection of the Ogden Museum, The Schomburg Center, the National Collection of Fine Arts of Guyana and the State of New Jersey.

Project Description

Things aren’t so tangible and sayable as people would usually have us believe; most experiences are unsayable, they happen in a space that no word has ever entered, and more unsayable than all other things are works of art, those mysterious existences, whose life endures beside our own small, transitory life—Rilke. 

I have worked most of my life in a public practice to promote artists and provide support in any way I could, as curator and writer. As a result, I’m now living on the lowest possible Social Security. I’m also now an older 'emerging (black) artist’ just gaining some traction in a competitive art-world that values youth above all, thus time is always critical. Having some financial support for 'making' as well as thinking about what I do is important, and a valuable gift. Most of the proceeds of the grant will go towards buying art materials and/or temporary working space.  

Basically a painter, in recent years, my desire has been to approach abstraction in a fresh way. My production has expanded to include photography and extemporaneous work, created directly on/off walls and floors using materials sourced from the everyday environment. Easily accessible, somewhat ephemeral and basic, this approach offers a multidimensional edge to what’s possible for my composite objects. For the oversized work, there definitely is a relationship to my own body, my reach, height, arm span, etc. And while the work includes a range of formal, sometimes minimal structures, it can occasionally surprise me with its suggestiveness; something about the folding, pleating, and cutting, can recall intimate experience of ‘skin’ like the crease and wrinkle of forms as they bend into intimate corners of the human body. I think because we are live sensual human beings, Eros, the positive principle of creation is always somehow in play—at least metaphorically. In a sense, what I do is an attempt to rescue a ‘something’ out of ‘nothing’ pinning down a moment—or a structure that could affect viewers. While the content of whatever pictorial structure I make may exist in the world of ‘real’ things, objects, spaces or places, they exist the way they do only because that’s how I see—and what I see. To others much of what I focus on is invisible or not worth looking at: folded papers, tape, a piece of string, a dusty corner, wet ground or my backyard at 2:00 a.m. Like those photographic images of my non-descript backyard, if my work documents anything at all, it may be the concrete poetry of seeing itself—and that definitely is something which resists explication (from Latin explicat- ‘unfolded,’ from the verb explicare, from ex- ‘out’ + plicare ‘to fold.’) and this is surely ‘unsayable.