John Townsend

Posted in Alumni

My artwork originates from the gap between two different worlds—the privileged and working class. Living between the two and not able to solely belong to either one, I am constantly searching for connections and a sense of place.   I struggle with accepting myself as a participant in ether group.  I value both the physical prowess of manual labor, and the intellectualism of the elite.  I am interested in both group’s limitations and how their vulnerabilities and cultural fears rely on each other and define themselves.  These limitations and imperfections are not a fault but a unique strength of living.  Therefore, my work is derived from this conflict and more specifically, from the realization of my faults and shortcomings or uniqueness.

By using found and salvaged objects and building materials from dumpsters and construction sites, which are signs for masculinity, religion, and social class, I am able to change the intended use in order to expose the objects and building material’s framework. This exposure reveals an awareness of the material’s place, purpose, and their relationship to the objects and concepts within other groups.  The materials act as dialect tools that navigate between the different groups.  This connection is important because it not only breaks down cultural fears, but also unifies the groups in terms of their vulnerabilities.

At its basis, the premise of my artwork comes from the process of connecting people through their imperfections instead of connecting them by cultural standards, similarities, and strengths.  I see us all bonded by our faults and shortcomings and the things that we refuse to examine.  For me imperfections are not so much a judgment, but a commonality.

town1 

 

mixed media installation

 

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mixed media installation

 

town3 

mixed media installation

detail