Polly Townsend

Polly Townsend: Slower Than This

August 24 – September 15, 2012
Opening Reception: Friday, August 24, 6 – 8pm

WASHINGTON, DC – Polly Townsend will depart from her more traditional oil paintings of vast and rugged mountainscapes to present new work in Slower Than This at CulturalDC’s Flashpoint Gallery. Townsend is inspired by wild mountain environments and travels to document their grandeur, beauty and fragility. She says, “I can’t explain my attraction to these landscapes. Most people see them as bleak and dead but I only see the infinite possibilities of color and shape – the longer you look, the more abstract they become. The real bleakness comes in the studio but no one sees that!”

The exhibition will take the artist’s painting practice as a starting point to delve into the personal and psychological aspects behind her process. Slower Than This will include work that explores how the artist’s work is made and will take the gallery visitor on a journey through the recurring mental and physical practice of the artist’s creative production, starting with the aesthetic inspiration and culminating in a large painting of a mountainscape.

The studio stage of her process – where Townsend works in a “sterile and often lonely space” is separated from the landscapes that inspire her, but is often full of emotional peaks and troughs. In an attempt to gain greater control over her practice, the artist recorded and graphed her daily emotional condition while in the studio. Two pieces in the exhibition, 5 a day for 5 days and the book, Souvenir of a Journey, present the resulting graphs that parallel her mountainous subject-matter.

The artist will also investigate her use of photography when creating a painting and the relationship between the two media, as well as her techniques for mentally transporting herself back to a particular place or view. Townsend’s return to her urban studio to work up sketches into large immersive mountain paintings can be seen as the final stage in her creative process, but it is also a new and separate journey into memory, environment and what it means to be a landscape painter.

There will be an opening reception on Friday, August 24 from 6-8pm.

Polly Townsend was born in the UK and completed an MFA at The Slade School of Fine Art in London in 2001. She now lives and works in Paris and London. She has won several painting and drawing prizes and was also recently nominated for UK Travel Photographer of the Year. Polly has recently completed two residencies in the US, at Badlands National Park and at Goldwell Art Centre in Death Valley. Her work has taken her to some of the most remote places in the world, including Kyrgyzstan, Kashmir and Mongolia, as well as throughout the US and Canada.

CulturalDC operates Flashpoint Gallery and produces public art interventions throughout DC. We nurture talented emerging and mid-career artists by providing opportunities for peer learning and mentorship. At Flashpoint Gallery we showcase bold, new work from artists working in a variety of media including site-specific installations, performance pieces, new media and other experimental forms. As a nonprofit gallery free from the constraints of commercial expectations, Flashpoint provides artists and curators a unique opportunity to take creative risks. An advisory panel of noted artists and arts professionals makes programming recommendations for the gallery and provides mentorship and support to exhibiting artists. Flashpoint, a CulturalDC project, is generously supported by The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, The Kresge Foundation, the MARPAT Foundation, the Eugene & Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Prince Charitable Trusts, The Share Fund of the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, The Washington Post Company and many other generous partners. Marvin is CulturalDC’s 2011-12 Wine Partner.

Flashpoint, a CulturalDC project, is a multi-disciplinary arts space. Flashpoint includes a contemporary art gallery, the 75-seat Mead Theatre Lab, the Coors Dance Studio and shared office space for arts organizations.

Slower Than This
Opening Reception: Friday, August 24, 6-8pm
Exhibition: August 24 – September 15, 2012
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 12-6 pm or by appointment
For more information: Call 202.315.1310

CulturalDC • 916 G Street, NW • Washington, DC 20001
General: 202.315.1305 Press: 202.315.1310 Fax: 202.315.1303 Email: Karyn Miller
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