Martha Townsend

12 October 1989 - 11 November 1989
Opening Reception 1 October 2023 12am

West Gallery:


In a new series of works, Martha Townsend moves towards a less narrative, more abstract mode than her past work. Townsend’s sculpture is characterized by a solemn tension, a dramatic sparseness and a striking material presence. Favouring elemental materisls, such as wood, metal and stone, her vocabulary of forms has also included farm implements, often revealing signs of decay and corrosion. Her earlier sculptures incorporated symbols of gravity and durability to communicate themes of instability, death, transformation and memory, often presenting a social critique.

In these new works, she instead employs shapes such as spheres, wedges and cubes in an effort to blur the boundaries between subject and object. Townsend continues to employ constructed and readymade, some referential and others not. All possess social connotations, and all invite the viewer into a relationship that offers a visceral experience.

Over the past ten years, Martha Townsend’s work has been presented in solo and group exhibitions concentrated in her home town of Montreal, with exhibitions in Calgary, Saskatoon, Halifax, Banff, and Sackville. Her solo exhibition in Toronto in Mercer Union’s East Gallery will open Thursday October l2 at 9:00 pm and continue through Saturday November 11. A public talk will be given by the artist at Mercer Union at 7:00 pm, prior to her opening. The exhibition will be accompanied by a published interview with the artist by Toronto artist and writer Carol Laing.