Discord & Rhyme 2023

18/11/2023 - 09/12/2023

Todd Hunter
Long View


oil on canvas

137.00 x 122.50 cm


Discord & Rhyme 2023

When you start working, everybody is in your studio – the past, your friends, enemies, the art world and above all, your own ideas – all are there. But as you continue painting, they start leaving one by one and you are left completely alone. Then, if you’re lucky, even you leave.

John Cage said this in 1965 and for me it is a very accurate description of my studio practice and my process of painting. Specifically, it’s the balancing act between the known and the unknown, the conscious and the subconscious, discord and rhyme and most importantly, when to be in control and conversely when to be reckless and abandon the rational you, in the hope of making or seeing something you haven’t before. It’s a thing that can exist on its own, beyond me, born through invention, an image that can only be arrived at by painting towards it, so it has its own past and a feeling that the image has lived.

Strictly speaking, I’m neither a figurative nor an abstract painter and I find the space between figurative and non-figurative art an exhilarating place to work. I’m drawn to paintings - wanting them to exert themselves. The inspiration revolves around you and it becomes this thing that can only be what it actually is.

More and more I’m acknowledging nature as a huge influence, nature as reality and as a painter I deal with this weird aspect of reality. Every painting you make you want it to be a real thing not just a real painting. Working towards some weird apotheosis where it all comes together. It’s the abstraction of forces and the residue or traces of forms that survive the many erasures that become the elements of the painting. The problem I see, for me, is not the object in the painting but the painting as object.

Drawing has always been fundamental to my practice as a way of inventing compositions and forms and sometimes a hint of narrative. This is where the paintings begin.

The most important element I take from drawing is that of erasure. It is to a large extent the crux of my process. Once I reach a certain point in the painting, it becomes more about taking things out – erasing – than putting things in. Remembering though, and I am learning this, to take things out is to actually put things in. It’s an instinctual exercise of exposing and revealing and the accompanying high of discovery of finding the hidden. It’s about finishing and leaving the image unsettled, caught in its moment like it has won it’s freedom, and pregnant with possibility for the next picture. Drenched with evocation rather than a simple recognition.

My studio is never silent, everything is accompanied by music. It intimately influences my work. Almost all my titles are derived from lyrics or song titles that have influenced that work and the psychological overtones the music has imbued on the work. It’s never arbitrary. At some stage during the painting process, early or late, a lyric or song will attach itself through its relevance to me and my life, or through the process of making the image it becomes relevant. It sets the rhythm by which the thing is made and it changes with each painting.

It’s autobiographical, reflecting in the image, becoming my mix tape, the soundtrack of a life. This is where the contradiction lies, in as much as the image needs to exist independently and reflect its own history or personality for me, there must still be a recognition of self in the picture made from my sensations. When I leave the studio, I have left there a person or something totemic, an organic thing that can lead its own life, that doesn’t need me anymore, nor my thoughts about it. A painting is a painting.

- Todd Hunter 2023




By Appointment
Tuesday - Friday
11:00AM - 5:30PM
11:00AM - 4:00PM


Scott Livesey Galleries
610 High Street, Prahran
Victoria, Australia, 3181
+613 9824 7770