Wildlife has been an inspiration to Graeme Townsend for over two decades, and his paintings and drawings reflect his love of the natural world and the visual treasures he finds there. His 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. “My current work depicts how we have harnessed various animals over the years to do our bidding. Other works depict the mythology that we assigned to certain animals. There are references to where we came from such as the primates dreaming of reaching the stars and man’s deep desire to fly, surely a desire we must have had as far back as mankind was able to wonder at the freedom of a bird.” Graeme draws on fantasy and surrealism and takes inspiration from the works of Belgian surrealist, Rene Magritte, and German romantic and allegorical landscape painter, Caspar David Friedrich. A multitude of animals inhabit his landscapes of possibilities - each work a part of a bigger story - like illustrations accompanying a rare book of fables. The fine detail is mesmerising; a pigeon’s wing feather, a water droplet on a leaf, a distant cloud. We are immediately drawn in by the pristine surfaces of the paintings, then compelled to weave the fragments of information into stories for ourselves. Graeme Townsend was born in Sydney, and studied at both the Julian Ashton School and Alexander Mackie College. Since 1979, Graeme has undertaken painting and photographic expeditions to Borneo, Africa, Asia, America and outback Australia. In 1991, he was a lecturer in acrylic painting at the Julian Ashton school and has had many solo exhibitions in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth as well as the USA, Japan and Hong Kong. His work has been hung in the Sulman and Wynne prize exhibitions at the Art Gallery of NSW.
1954 Born Sydney
1973-74 Julian Ashton School, Sydney 1977-79 Alexander Mackie College, Sydney 1979 Painting and photographic expedition, Africa Lecturer in Acrylic Painting, Drawing & Photography, Milperra C.A.E. 1982Photographic expedition, Indonesia and Malaysia 1983 Photographic expedition to Kakadu National Park, NT 1984 Photographic expedition to Borneo 1987 Survey Tour USA, England, France, Italy and India 1989 Photographic Survey of Kakadu National Park, NT; Kimberley Coast and Ord River, WA Photographic Survey Broken Hill districts, NSW Photographic and Painting Survey of Western NSW 1991 Lecturer, Acrylic Painting, Julian Ashton School, Sydney
SOLO EXHIBITIONS 2015
“Enjoy the silence”, Beaver Galleries, Canberra BMG Gallery, Adelaide 2010 Christopher Day Gallery, Sydney 2009 Beaver Galleries, Canberra 2007 Christopher Day Gallery, Sydney 2005 “The magic rabbit & other recent works”, Christopher Day Gallery, Sydney 2004 “Painted Word”, Beaver Galleries, Canberra 2003 Christopher Day Gallery, Sydney 2002 Port Jackson Fine Art, Laguna, USA 2001Port Jackson Fine Art, Laguna, USA 2000 “Shoreline @ Tribe”, Barry Stern Galleries, Sydney 1998 "Twenty five small paintings", Barry Stern Galleries, Sydney 1997 "Vatulele", Barry Stern Galleries, Sydney 1995 Works on paper, Eddie Glastra Galleries, SydneyGreythorn Galleries, Melbourne 1994 Sogo Chiba, Japan 1992 Barry Stern Galleries, Sydney 1990 Perth Galleries, Perth 1988 Works On Paper, Barry Stern Galleries, Sydney Barry Stern Galleries, Sydney
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1985 Barry Stern Galleries, Sydney 1982 Barry Stern Galleries, Sydney 1981 Asian Art Gallery, Hong Kong1980 Barr Stern Galleries, Sydney 1979 Barry Stern Galleries, Sydney 1976 Terry Divola Galleries, Sydney 1975 Terry Divola Galleries, Sydney 1974 Terry Divola Galleries, Sydney 1973 Terry Divola Galleries, Sydney
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS 2014
“Small works”, Beaver Galleries, Canberra“Through the mirror ball”, BMG Gallery, AdelaideChristopher Day Gallery, Sydney 2013 Christopher Day Gallery, Sydney 2012 “Small Works”, Beaver Galleries, Canberra 2011 Christopher Day Gallery, Sydney 2009 Greythorn Galleries, Melbourne 2008 Christopher Day Gallery, SydneyGreythorn Galleries, Melbourne 2006 Melbourne Art Fair (Beaver Galleries) 2004 Melbourne Art Fair 2004 (Beaver Galleries) 2003 William Merrill Gallery, California, U.S.A. 2002 Melbourne Art Fair (Beaver Galleries) 1996 "Works on Paper", Barry Stern Galleries, Sydney 1995 "Palm Beach", Barry Stern Galleries, Sydney 1994 Tokyo Art Fair, Japan Greythorn Galleries, Melbourne Fourth Australian Contemporary Art Fair, Melbourne Shareart Galleries, Tokyo, Japan 1993 Greythorn Galleries, Melbourne “Julian Ashton Alumni”, Julian Ashton School, Sydney Beaver Galleries, Canberra W.I.R.E.S, Museum of Natural History, Sydney “The Famous Five”, Jill Richards Gallery, Sydney 1992 Alliance Francaise, Sydney W.I.R.E.S, Museum of Natural History, Sydney Survey exhibition, Contemporary Drawing, Julian Ashton School, Sydney The Rocks Centre, Sydney 1989 Barry Stern Galleries, Sydney Schubert Galleries, Brisbane Perth Galleries, PerthDempster Galleries, Melbourne 1987 “New Horizons”, Cultural Centre, Los Angeles USA Munson Galleries, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA “Survey of Australian Contemporary Art”, Hong Kong Cultural Centre, Hong Kong Munson Gallery, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA 1985 Crispo Galleries, New York, USA Sulman Prize, Art Gallery of NSW 1983 Barry Stern Galleries, Sydney 1982 Wynne Prize, Art Gallery of NSW 1981 Sulman Prize, Art Gallery of NSWWynne Prize, Art Gallery of NSW 1979 Contemporary survey of Australian Artists, Adelaide Festival of Arts 1978 Selected Student Work, Alexander Mackie College, Sydney
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Hogarth Galleries, Sydney The Sydney Gallery, Sydney 1972 Willoughby Galleries, Sydney.
AWARDS / COMMISSIONS 1986 40 Works on paper commissioned by Ansett Airlines of Australia for Hayman Island Resort Major work and print series based on the America’s Cup Challenge, Perth commissioned by IMG (USA) 1981 Nine murals commissioned by M.E.P.C for the foyer of the Sydney Stock Exchange
PUBLICATIONS2009 “Disturbing surrealism”, Sasha Grishin, Canberra Times, 12 November 2004 “Graeme Townsend - Local Artist”, Colleen Duncan, South Coast and Country, Summer edition“ Work leaves beholders perplexed and amused”, Sasha Grishin, The Canberra Times, May 14 1997 “Wildlife inspires artist to defy blindness”, Tony Stephens, Sydney Morning Herald, 18 October 1987 New Art One, Nevill Drury, Craftsman House 1982 front cover of The Bulletin
Benalla Regional Gallery Vic; Milperra C.A.E, NSW; M.E.P.C., Sydney; QANTAS, Sydney; TCN Nine, Sydney; Mobil, Sydney; Taffs; Peko Wallsend; Barkus Pearson; Wesfarmers, WA; Kerry Stokes, WA; Kennedy Miller Productions; Covers Collection; Agha Kahn, Paris, France; Bunker Hunt, USA; Matrix, Canada; Rose Corp; Mirvac, Sydney; Hayman Island Resort, Qld; Ansett Airlines Aust; James Hardie; Bell Group, WA; Morgan & Banks; Hanna Match; Bensons; Key West; J. Brenda Collection; Crown Casino, Melbourne; Lord McAlpine, United Kingdom