David Masters Townsend was born in New Zealand in 1974 and studied painting and time-based media at the Elam school of fine arts, graduating in 1998. Living in London since 2001 he has exhibited extensively throughout Australasia, the U.K. and Europe.
Townsend produces medium to large scale figurative paintings that focus on figures in a constant mutable state of creation, erosion and flux - with physical boundaries that are blurred, fractured and transitional.
The expressive monochromatic canvases in oil and enamel have a viscerally physical presence. The impenetrable high gloss surface of the canvas is like a literal black mirror, reflecting the unknowable, dehumanised subject, reduced to the pose or the mask. Imagery is deliberately objectified yet hinting at inner states of anxiety and crisis, with figures both exposed and disguised, intimate yet distanced, inspired by ideas of the divided self.
David Masters Townsend - 'Black Mirror'
Black Mirror is an exploration of how we manifest and construct ourselves for public consumption - the artifice of the pose and the mask. Figures are selfconciously arranged as specimens on display - the anonymous subject as a blank screen onto which we project our desires.
This series of works also relate to the artistic tradition of the momento mori - a reflection on vanity, the transience and impermanence of the body and ultimately on mortality.
David Masters Townsend - 'Anti-Human'
This series of works are primarily concerned with the mechanisms of objectification - fetishising the passive surface.
It's an Exploration of the dehumanising reduction of people to the status of inanimate objects or automatons, the hollow fascination of dolls and puppets and the horror of the vacuum.