Biography

From "Looking North"

“His strongly figurative work revolves around intimate, personal and often erotic connections with his subjects, while encompassing broader themes. Preoccupied by the nude, his bold and expressive art confronts difficult issues of national identity, Indigenous rights, sexuality, terrorism and war.

“Steeped in Indigenous Australia and Indonesian cultures, Todd challenges colonial and Eurocentric perspectives of Australia's place in Asia, painting the places he has lived: from the Aboriginal communities of Australia's Northern Territory, to Bali and Java, Vienna and Italy. More than anything else, his art explores the commonality of the human experience that links people across cultures.

“In essence, Todd is a maverick, communicating his message without concern for fashion or political correctness. He commemorates the valor of war heroes, yet is a pacifist. He recoils from publicity and sensationalism, yet paints with his own blood in outrage at the violence of war. He argues his art is not about content but form, yet his work is frequently inspired by text and conveys important social commentary.

“Geoff Todd's art is inspired by his compassion for humanity as well as form. His work challenges us to reconsider our lives and values.”

Dr. Jacqueline Healy‚  from:
"Looking North. The Art of Geoff Todd"
Edited by Tim Lindsey
Zebu Press Australia 2004



Born in 1950 in Melbourne Australia, Geoff Todd had his first solo exhibition in 1969 at the age of 18. He continued to paint and exhibit his work in Melbourne and regional Victoria and was included in group exhibitions overseas.

He established himself as a serious young artist with acquisitions by the National Gallery of Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria and numerous regional public galleries throughout Australia. During this productive period his work also found its way into many private collections.

In 1980 he became the first Melbourne artist appointed as artist in residence at the Victorian College of the Arts, a position normally reserved for interstate and overseas artists. This appointment led to a highly prolific period, with 3 solo exhibitions in the one year, where he exhibited the book-sculptures and large-scale collages and with the production of his performance piece – “Play Painting / Eat Art” with professional musicians and drama students from the VCA.

In 1984 Todd travelled across Australia to Arnhemland in the Top End where he worked for two and a half years with traditional Aboriginal artists. While the experience caused a new direction in Todd’s painting,  it also stimulated his desire to travel abroad.

In 1987, he relocated from Maningrida to Rum Jungle, south of Darwin, where he lectured in art at Batchelor College and in 1989 moved to Darwin and lectured in Sculpture and Drawing at the Northern Territory University.

During his time in the Top End he travelled further north to Indonesia where he found a society committed to life, religion, festival and art, an ideal environment for an artist who has always used the human form as an integral and inspirational source in his work.

The paintings and drawings completed in Indonesia attracted much interest and have been purchased by numerous collectors throughout Australia and Indonesia. In Indonesia he is represented in the Duta Art Foundation in Jakarta, Rudana Museum in Bali, Museum Diponegoro in Yogyakarta and Museum Diponegoro in Magelang, Java.

In 1999, Todd held an exhibition at the Benteng Vredeberg (Dutch Fort) in Yogyakarta, which was opened by Prince Prabukusomo. The public response in Indonesia to his exhibition resulted in articles appearing widely throughout the Indonesian and Australian media, acclaiming his work and establishing him as a respected artist within Indonesia.

Indonesia is seen as Todd's first stepping-stone to further and continuous overseas travel which has allowed him to pursue opportunities for time and space to work and exhibit with renewed inspiration.

Overseas, his work has been included in contemporary art exhibitions across the United States, Austria, Hong Kong and Italy. In private collections his work is held by well-known identities within Australia and celebrities such as Hollywood actor William Shatner of Star Trek fame.

Todd continues to paint, travel and exhibit regularly and is currently working towards 3 exhibitions scheduled for 2008, a Government commission and a collaboration – “Song and Ink” – with singer/song-writer Leo Sayer.
 
In 2004 Zebu Press published a comprehensive book about Todd’s life and work –  “Looking North, the Art of Geoff Todd” – which offers much more biographical detail for interested readers.