5 - 24 November 2009
about the exhibition
Graeme Townsend’s recent work continues to explore the issues arising in the meeting of man and nature – man’s impact on the environment and how nature has responded to that impact. Climate change has been a dominant influence, specifically the effects of drought and pollution. Skies coloured by the presence of exhaust fumes, pastures struggling for their lost fertility and ubiquitous mobile phone towers provide an unsettling, yet powerful background for Graeme’s paintings and works on paper. Elements of humour and wonder capture our interest after we are lured into these seductive images by pristine surfaces, exquisite details and vibrant colours. Graeme draws on fantasy and surrealism in his paintings and takes inspiration from the works of Belgian surrealist, Rene Magritte, and German romantic and allegorical landscape painter, Caspar David Friedrich. Obscure combinations of oversized animals and man-made paraphernalia against grand vacant landscapes and stretching skies dominate Graeme’s compositions, in which the boundaries of proportion, scale and perspective are constantly challenged. Graeme describes his works as visual poems or short stories, through which the negative environmental impact of mankind is told from the perspective of his animal protagonists.
Graeme Townsend was born in Sydney and studied at both the Julian Ashton School and Alexander Mackie College. He travelled widely throughout the 1980s, including painting and photographic expeditions to Borneo, Africa, Asia and outback Australia. Graeme taught acrylic painting at the Julian Ashton School in 1991. He has had many solo exhibitions in Australia as well as the USA, Japan and Hong Kong; and his work has been hung in the Wynne and Sulman prize exhibitions at the Art Gallery of NSW and shown at the Tokyo Art Fair and the Melbourne Art Fair. Graeme Townsend’s work is held in many private and corporate collections in Australia including Qantas, Wesfarmers and the Kerry Stokes Collection, and overseas, in New Zealand, UK, USA, Canada, China and Europe.