During an Interview in his studio, Brad Teodoruk was asked, “How do you decide what to write in your works?” Paintbrush in hand, Teodoruk transferred the interviewer’s words straight onto the canvas: ‘How d..’ – the rest of the sentence was later covered by a thick bar of obscuring paint, like a piece of street art only half erased. The work, Mosquito, started with an image of the blood sucking insect vacating its prey, the word Jerk written in bold red letters underneath; only the J remains clearly visible.
Brad Teodoruk draws inspiration everywhere: from pop culture, through current affairs and conversations with friends, to antique birdwatching guides and poetry. Like a prism in reverse, these influences confer through the artist and focus into a single artwork, with floating phrases and disjointed images merging into visual poetry.
Omission is a theme that is included throughout most of Teodoruk’s practice, the layering creating a hidden history within the work. The juxtaposition of flat and impasto surfaces tells as much of a story as the images scattered across the canvas. In his most recent works, Teodoruk has gotten looser with his brush, giving the canvas over to shape, composition and colour.
Composition is everything. The tension in a painting holds together separate elements as they hover dangerously close to drifting into chaos, though always bound together by form. Sometimes, what holds the separate elements is a deadpan joke or a visual pun. The Shepherd, a minute work with more parts to it than should be possible, depicts a golfer followed by two sheep. The sheep seem to be drawn by a different hand and only attach to the golfer through the title.
Teodoruk’s work has an air of free association, as though he is showing us a mind-map that is at once personal and drawn from the public domain. The viewer is prompted to immerse himself, filling in gaps through curiosity and recognition.
A spur-of-the-moment practice as instinctive as Teodoruk’s should almost preclude a disjointed body of work. Nevertheless, the works included in this exhibition are united by the common theme of omission and layering, recurring imagery, and the artist’s unmistakably individual style.
Words by Sam Ramsden