Travis Townsend, Smallish Raft Tower, 2010-2019. Wood, plywood, paint, clamps, paper, string, clay, graphite, 60 x 19 x 21 inches. Photography by Mary Rezny.
Sketched, built, carved, drawn-on, disassembled, rebuilt, painted, tethered, clamped, tinkered-upon, and appearing as useless vessel forms (some of which have been evolving for over a decade), these sculptures play off the forms of tools, toys, and boats, and have layers of mark-making and painting that contribute to the building of a vague history.
Some are ruminations on the idea of an ark. And they aim to be (in their own idiosyncratic way) well-made and innovative in form. Perhaps they are beautiful.
These process-oriented works take a winding path to completion, evolving from continuously redrawn sketches and traveling through many transformations before being cut apart, reassembled, and reworked. Parts are often transplanted, left behind, or recycled. Curious inspection and patient observation reveal previously unseen drawings and room-like interiors, many with small chairs and ladders, that suggest a narrative of previous habitation.
It’s not lost on me that my studio is the garage. And I’m in the studio at night tinkering with memories and thinking about the things that men build. Have we built good things? Am I building a good thing? Is this personal and artistic self-doubt? Well, partially. But more importantly, I hope the work communicates a serious and intentional examination of the creative act and of the nature of “building things” in general.
Then again……….it could just be about the pleasure of making and re-making. My creative process is one of experimentation and re-use, and the artworks wear their truth (the history of their own creation) “on their sleeves.”
Travis Townsend draws, builds, rebuilds, paints, and tinkers upon wood and mixed media sculptures in his Lexington studio. Travis studied at Kutztown University and Virginia Commonwealth University and has presented solo exhibitions at The Parachute Factory, Washington State University, Manifest Gallery, Doppler PDX, Southwest School of Art, Weston Gallery, and the New Arts Program. His work has been included in numerous group exhibitions and appeared in the publications New American Paintings, The International Drawing Annual, and The Penland Book of Woodworking. He has been a resident artist at Penland School of Craft, Oregon College of Art and Craft, Vermont Studio Center, and Peters Valley School. Ongoing projects include collaborative sculptures, drawings, and installations with the SmithTownsendCollaborative.
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