My paintings investigate the humorous intersection of the natural and artificial within the theater of daily life. Utilizing space and scale to accentuate the juxtaposition of the mundane and the mysterious, these works present the absurd as both subject and object. Occupying the space between history and technology these elusive narratives reveal the personal as universal by making the familiar fantastical.
Which writers/poets inspire you?
Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Magical realism is my work’s lodestar. And Rainer Maria Rilke. Consideration of the mystical in daily life is essential.
What is on your bedside table?
An antique globe that was my prize for winning a contest in sixth grade geography class. It was made in an era when Myanmar was Burma, Russia was the U.S.S.R., Mumbai was Bombay, Zimbabwe was Rhodesia and the rest. I see it first thing in the morning and lastly at night, week over week, year after year. It is a charming reminder of life’s dualities; namely, the constancy of change, the fragile mixture of the immense and the finite, and the limits and magnitude of perception. The cumulative effect of the things we choose to live with over time should not be underestimated.
If you were not making art, what else would you be doing?
Art making is the center of my life. Without the discipline, I would be adrift.
What is your most cherished studio tool?
A small, pocket sized book for seizing and taking note of ideas for works in progress and future projects.
What is your favorite thing in your studio?
What characteristics do you admire most in your friends?
Honesty, energy, wit, and humor.
What would your perfect 24 hours be like?
Breakfast in the sun with a New Yorker Magazine on the back porch, puttering around the garden, a measured stroll around the neighborhood, studio practice, a crisp salad for lunch, more studio practice, a refreshing nap, a third and final cup of tea, an afternoon trip to the beach with a swim and a good sit, adventures in the kitchen that evening, a classic film at night, and a book before bed.
What is the best thing you have ever touched or smelled?
The fuzz on sycamore leaves and their scent of sweet dust.
Do you have advice for aspiring artists?
Work regularly and often. Find levity whenever and wherever possible. Participate and engage with a local art community. And nourish and refresh the mind with things outside the realm of the studio. The book, the play, the film, the trip, are every bit as important as the studio practice. Maybe more so. And see art in person. Lots of it.
Which artists are you inspired by? Why?
J.M.W. Turner. Hieronymus Bosch. Katsushika Hokusai. Utagawa Hiroshige. For space, scale, composition, ambiguity, and fantasy.
What is your greatest superpower?
Townsend Davidson, born in Childress, Virginia in 1979, received his BA from the College of Charleston in Studio Art and Art History. Davidson attended the Maine Photographic Workshops and Penland School of Crafts.
The artist was selected for Under the Radar, an exhibition of emerging artists organized by the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art and Charleston Magazine. Davidson has exhibited at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, Redux Contemporary Art Center, and the City Gallery at Waterfront Park, all of which are in Charleston, SC.
His work is included in the Contemporary Carolina Collection at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). Presently, Townsend is employed by the College of Charleston as a photography lab technician and as a drawing instructor for the Gibbes Museum of Art as well, as for Redux Contemporary Art Center.
Check out his profile in the Spring 2016 issue of Charleston Art Mag, a piece in Charleston Magazine from 2015 and most recently, P.J. Gartin’s “Art and Gardening: The Exquisite Hand of Nature”, in Charleston Style & Design, Summer 2019.
Link to Townsend’s personal site here.
photo credit: NINA GARNER