Despite having his work acquired by The National Gallery of Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria and other National and State institutions in Australia, Northern NSW knows little about Geoff Todd.
Mitchell Fine Art Gallery in Brisbane has decided to change that. This brief, one-day exhibition is an exciting introduction of Todd's work to the region. Black Dress is an exhibition of new works by Todd - a selection of paintings, drawings and ceramics will be on display on Sunday October 15, 9am-3pm, at Newrybar Hall.
BAM. Are these works representational of women whom you know personally?
Geoff. My connection with Indonesia since 1990 has left me with many wonderful friendships. Nonita Respati, one of Indonesia's most important fashion designers, came to my Victorian studio to stay. She is a creative genius who inspires those around her. While these paintings are not meant to be portraits of a particular person, they were inspired by this wonderful, serene lady who bonded with our dog, Daisy. When ever sitting opposite Nonita, Daisy would throw my lap over for hers. Nonita in her signature black dresses, Daisy contrasting with her white coat. An image not easy to ignore.
BAM. What are your views on feminism?
Geoff. As a young artist I was quite closely involved with the Women's Electoral Lobby and studied Germaine Greer's the Female Eunuch as part of my degree, so was very much aware of the public consciousness of Feminism. Then moving to live in Arnhem Land with a very patriarchal society of tribal Aboriginal people I was able to identify many extremes of society shown me from the feminist point of view.
By virtue of my sexuality I find I tend to use female models much more than male. Perhaps I look for excuses, but I must point out that the sexuality of the artists over the centuries does tend to control an artist if they are working figuratively. Way back in the late seventies there was a distinction made that there is a big difference between equality and sameness and this I believe feminists of all genders must consider.
BAM. Please describe how this series fits within your oeuvre.
Geoff. I have always been a figurative artist. Always on the alert for inspirational imagery and unlike some of the art schools of today, I have this conservative belief that an artist must be able to control one's mark making, even if this artist works non - figuratively!
Two things keep haunting me: first, if an artist relies greatly on "accident" within the work, it seems wrong to call that art — it's an accident, some times a happy accident, but unless the artist hand has some control, we are not talking art.
The other worrying idea is that " art can be anything". This is simply wrong because if art can be anything it must be something else, therefore once everything becomes art, we have lost art. Marcel Duchamp in one of his last interviews with Pierre Carbanne said, "I never meant it to be an artwork" when talking of his famous urinal/fountain. So in retrospect I think this series fits my oeuvre from the point of view that I am still bashing away to keep emotions, aesthetics and control in my art work. This is how I get satisfaction. If others identify with me it is a bonus.
BAM. Do you have any further shows planned for the Northern Rivers, Gold Coast or Brisbane?
Geoff. Since Mitchell Fine Art showing my first Brisbane exhibition in 2015 bringing, my wife, Janette Lucas, another artist, to this region, we are looking forward to a working and a living future here and are in the process of organising our relocation from our Darwin and Victorian studios.
Black Dress, an exhibition of new works by Geoff Todd.
SUNDAY 15th OCTOBER
9am - 3pm
13-15 Old Pacific Highway
Newrybar NSW 2477
For enquiries please email email@example.com or phone 0419 655 434.