A B O U T g r e e r t o w n s h e n d
Greer Townshend is a New Zealand-born artist, based in Australia, whose primary practice is drawing. She undertook a Bachelor of Fine Arts Canterbury University (2000), majoring in Printmaking at Ilam, and is close to completion of a Bachelor of Arts, art history major, Victoria University, New Zealand & Jean Moulin University III, France.
Townshend has travelled extensively, teaching English in Kobe, Japan and Blois, France for several years before moving to Paris to study French. She moved back to New Zealand to study art history and in 2010 she was awarded a Mainzeal Scholarship for Academic Excellence in Art History (Victoria University) and subsequently moved back to Lyon, France to undertake a further six months study.
Townshend moved to Queensland to continue her art practice and has lived in Australia for five years. In 2022, Greer was awarded the Mittelhauser Scholar-In-Residence, State Library of Queensland, for her research project 'I Feel You: Discovering Collections through Emotion', which runs Jan-Dec 2023 In 2021, Greer was a finalist in the Lyn McCrea Memorial Drawing Award at Noosa Regional Gallery.
In 2020, Greer was commissioned from a nation-wide call out by Nillumbik Shire Council, Victoria to create work for 'Art in the Time of Covid' at Montsalvat. In 2017, Greer was awarded a Q ANZAC 100 fellowship at the State Library of Queensland for her project Treasure: A Soldier's Story, was shortlisted for a $150,000 triple public sculpture commission for Sunshine Coast City Council, and was a finalist in the Lyn McCrea Memorial Drawing Prize.
In 2016, Townshend's work was included in an International Drawing Publication by Manifest Drawing Research Centre and gallery, U.S.A. She was also selected as a finalist in the Lyn McCrea Memorial Drawing Prize (Highly Commended and work acquired by award founder) Noosa Regional Gallery, the Stanthorpe Art Festival Art Prize Stanthorpe Regional Gallery, and the Parkin Drawing Prize Academies Gallery NZ.
In 2014, Townshend was a finalist in the Sunshine Coast Art Award, the Marie Ellis Drawing Award and also a recipient of the Regional Arts Development Fund Gold Coast City Council. In 2013, Townshend's work was Highly Commended in the Clayton Utz Art Award and she shortlisted for both the Marie Ellis Drawing Award and the Parkin Drawing Prize.
Townshend's recent solo show Here I Came to the Very Edge ran 11 Nov 2020 - 26 Jan 2021 at the Museum of Brisbane and was an outcome of her Q ANZAC 100 fellowship at the SLQ. The work explores the experiences of Queensland soldiers during the First World War, based on their letters, diaries and photographs. Her individual exhibitions have included: Heart (2017) Noosa Regional Gallery, With You (2015) The Hold Artspace, Brisbane, Bon Voyage (2010) Art Museum Hotel, New Zealand; and Drift, Wander, (2009) Taylor Jensen Gallery, New Zealand.
STUDIO: Brisbane, Australia
A R T I S T S T A T E M E N T
If only these treasures were not so fragile as they are precious and beautiful
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Greer Townshend’s work is frequently underpinned by the concept of fragility, whether related to the process of memory, language or the self. Her practice combines portraiture and archetypal symbols, which often includes images of nature.
Townshend's works explores Jungian concepts of the both the personal and the collective unconscious. She is interested in Jung's idea that a simple image can evoke a powerful unconscious response in a person, regardless of time or culture. In this vein, Townshend often looks to history, in particular diaries and letters, where she distills imagery from the collections as a means of unveiling a person's personal and ancestral history. Her most recent work deals with these ideas within the context of warfare.
Aesthetically, Townshend's figures often float on a white ground, with a focus on the head and face. The body is reduced to a select ensemble of simplistically drawn lines, evoking a sense of otherworldliness, and highlighting the concept of a person as a soul. Her more recent work combines the medium of charcoal portraits, paper-folding (origami), paper-cutting (kirigami), and paper-cut light boxes.
Flowers are a reoccurring motif in Townshend's work given their beauty and ephemeral nature. Floriography, the language of flowers, is used as a device to further explore the notion of the soul, as well as a means of describing the personal history someone carries with them. Flowers also express the intangible, fleeting quality of experience and of the spoken word.
These ideas, combined with Townshend's affinity for literature and language, lead her to regarding the works as visual haiku, a short Japanese poem with reference to a fleeting moment in nature, the aesthetics of which are brevity, directness, naturalness and simplicity.