Brett Whiteley defined painting as a game visually describing the “centre of the meaning of existence” and drawing as basically confirming the commonplace as beautiful or probing with authority into the unknown. The visual evidence of this philosophy manifests in the flowering of originality, unpredictability and the absence of doubt in the mark of a unique artist. Nuanced, stylised, difficult to mimic and impossible to replicate, a great artist’s work symbolises their search for an unadulterated interpretation of their reality and an as-true-as-possible representation of the self in their chosen medium. However, it is only after an exhaustive and time-intensive undertaking through experimentation, reflection, failure and doubt that an individual’s truth starts to gradually materialise on their internal horizon.
It is here, as darkness renounces its dominion over light and hesitation dissipates into self-belief, that history has located Ears (Daniel O’Toole) ascending onto the shoulders of past masters to provide his own influential platform. At the age of 28, O’Toole, the Sydney based musician, photographer and painter is the possessor of an almost incomprehensibly fertile imagination, abstract intelligence, voracious ambition and the philosophical artistic wisdom of an artisan twice his age. It is these character traits, as well as a detailed map of the paths treaded by his influences that have guided his unassuming advance to the front-line of a new generation of world-class contemporary artists.
With the simple disclosure of their mind’s inner workings an artist distinguishes themselves from those who choose to repress their expression and create themselves as uncreative creatures. Armed with the unlimited resource of his own humanity and an alchemic visual curiosity, Ears’ paintings blend the whimsical nature of early childhood with a ripened melancholia – propelling his work deeper into his involuntary subconscious with unexpected visual consequences. Drifting through painterly constellations outside our preconceptions of what is and isn’t beautiful, Ears continues to fortify his own enigmatic sanctuary to uncover the mysteries within himself – the mysteries he has taken sole responsibility for revealing.
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