Robert Malherbe utilises dense impasto surfaces and a luscious applique of oil paint – often in a restricted palette – to generate an enticing sense of immediacy. Working only from life, his vigorous, gestual style records immediate impressions of his subjects. Moving paint freely around the canvas Malherbe not only captures light, shade and form, but the presence of his subjects is a particular and fleeting moment in time.
Raw instinct, is an embodiment of the artist’s painting process, coming together in the moment by instinct. Malherbe states:
“I never paint directly for an upcoming show, what I do is paint all the time and then collect the best work and put them into some kind of group that coalesce. This works best for me as I never want the paintings themselves or the exhibition to be pre-conceived, that would bore me.
I like being surprised by seeing where the painting is heading, how it’s evolving, how the palette has changed etc…And I love the surprise of seeing how they finally sit together on the walls of a gallery. If anything I’m an instinctive painter.”
Robert Malherbe was a finalist in the 2020 Paddington Art Prize and is a regular finalist in the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes – most recently, he was a finalist in the 2018 Archibald Prize, the 2019 and 2018 Wynne Prize, and the 2019 Sulman Prize. In 2016 the artist was awarded the NSW Parliament Plein Air Art Prize, and in 2015 was the recipient of the Manning Art Prize.