Artist's Statement

These sculptures are outgrowths of my Renovated Flightless Devices series and play off the forms and function of tools, toys, boats, and, perhaps, military equipment. The works are somewhat vessel-oriented and have layers of drawing and painting that contribute to the building of a vague "history". The objects take a winding path to completion, evolving from continuously redrawn sketches and traveling through many transformations before being cut apart, reassembled, and reworked. Through this method of construction and reconstruction, I am able to intuitively build and then, at a later time, make necessary changes. Many of the recently completed things pictured here evolved for nearly a decade.

Curious inspection and patient observation reveal previously unseen drawings and room-like interiors, many with small chairs and ladders “left over” from previous inhabitants. These things have handles, openings, drawn symbols, and moveable parts, but like the mystery of a ritual object from a broken-down culture, the physical or metaphorical functions are left to the imagination. In an increasingly commercialized, displaced society, I’m attempting to build slow, somewhat clumsy, objects that reveal a layered history.


Travis Townsend studied at Kutztown University and Virginia Commonwealth University (MFA, 2000) and has presented solo exhibitions at Washington State University, Manifest Gallery (Cincinnati), Bloomsburg University (PA), Doppler PDX (Portland), the Southwest School of Art (San Antonio), Weston Gallery (Cincinnati), and the New Arts Program (PA). His work has been included in over 100 group exhibitions and appeared in the publications New American Paintings, The Manifest International Drawing Annual, and The Penland Book of Woodworking.

Travis has been a resident artist at Oregon College of Art and Craft, Penland School of Crafts, The Vermont Studio Center, and Peters Valley School of Craft, and his awards include an Emerging Artist Grant from the American Craft Council, a fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council, and three sculpture grants from the Virginia A. Groot Foundation.

He lives in Lexington, KY and teaches drawing, concepts, and art criticism at Eastern Kentucky University. Ongoing projects include drawings and collaborative installations with the SmithTownsendCollaborative.