Solemn landscapes have never been more of an appropriate backdrop than in these past months. As we cocoon ourselves in our homes, nature has become one with nature, and Polly Townsend’s paintings have eerily become relevant.
Exploring some of the most remote and hostile landscapes in the world, Townsend’s artwork presents a view of the world beyond the familiar, showcasing apparently desolate places that are almost entirely uninhabited.
Each painting is the result of an expedition or a residency. “The work draws on journeys I have made to specific destinations around the world,” Townsend explained in an interview with Jackson’s Art. “They are places where the land is stark and exposed, unfertile, remote, and even hostile,” she adds.
Her work is gradual, producing first small works on-site using a collapsible easel, sketchbooks, and photographs, and then building up to larger canvases in her London studio. “I travel with a basic lightweight kit (oils or acrylics depending on practicality) and a small easel, pencils, charcoals, and a camera,” says Townsend. “Sometimes these small works succeed in their own right and sometimes they become the backbone of studio work.”
While her work strikes a chord with us, it’s also very much detached, creating a sense of foreignness and unexplored territories. See for yourself: