Todd’s works are painted palimpsests, the scoured surfaces of which, slashed, spattered and stained, are covered with bravura, non-hierarchical patterning that enables us to read back through the many different strata that the artist creates with pen, ink, paint and varnish on plywood and mdf supports. The stains of scattered poppy seeds litter his logbook of half forgotten, deep frozen, opium tinged dreams. Todd’s surfaces communicate an idea of space rather than being a literal representation of it. His spatial schemes subvert conventional relationships of scale by simultaneously employing the microscopic and the cosmic, combining substrata and extensions of infinite space. Todd’s marks coalesce and dissolve like the disincarnate actions of free-floating figures or the random bounces of screen-saver entropy. Quoting Leo Steinberg’s comment about Jackson Pollock’s paintings, Todd said, while pointing at his painting Blank Frank, “you could fly a space ship through this”. He raids Lucio Fontana’s “art for the Space Age” for its patterns of vertical slashes and the compositional ambiguity provided by the sculpted frames of the teatrini series (1964-66), where both illustrative and abstract elements co-exist.
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