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Kevin Townsend Kansas City, Missouri


I was born, raised, and educated on the east coast, earning my BFA from Corcoran College of the Arts & Design at GW University and my MFA from the School of Visual Arts, NYC. 


I describe my expanded drawing practice as rendering monuments to moments as they pass. My meditative works range from intimately scaled, delicate drawings that aggregate hours on paper to large-scale, public pieces that accumulate days of marking at the scale of architecture. The accumulated marks evoke swarms, fields, clouds, flows, or topographies that index the passage of time. Each mark is a tic of the clock, a thought, a decision, and an action made in a moment of the perceptual present, oriented to the other moments recorded before it. 


My large-scale works are composed, rendered, and exhibited on-site, directly on urban surfaces, the facades of buildings, or the walls of museums, and galleries in cities across the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia.

What is Art for you?

Art is a distinctly human phenomenon— it is a way for us to synthesize and aestheticize our experiences. I think of Art as a vital means of connection between people.

What is chocolate to you?

Chocolate is like a reward— espresso and dark chocolate usually follow long stretches of work in my studio practice.

What inspires you, and this piece in particular?

Big ideas and questions about time, duration, obsession, and mark-making drive my work. But simple, small details often animate it— they become rules for me to focus on while in the act of drawing.


In my practice, I often turn to untraditional (usually non-archival) materials to use as drawing surfaces. Tarpaper is typically used in home construction as a waterproofing layer that sits beneath the shingles on a roof. I was drawn to this series of drawings because of its association with construction and architecture and because of its material characteristics. Because the fibers of the paper contain petroleum products any marks made on this surface are by nature unstable, white marks made on its surface will lose their brightness as they leach tar from the paper, and oxidize— the shift through tones of ivory, antique white and eventually settle to a pale ochre. For this drawing, Tidal, the surface texture of the paper was also vital to its creation— when the china marker moves across its surface its texture created the sound I was looking for. To make this drawing contact microphones were placed on the left and right sides of the tar paper to capture the sound of the drawing. The lines are rendered as iscrones, they are lines of equal time that were drawn at a consistent tempo with the sound emanating from speakers mimicking the sound and rhythm of the tide.


Temporal Bifurcation

This drawing accumulates 12 hours of marks as two distinct fields. The drawings in this series are collections of small moments that together represent a continuous duration. Each mark in this drawing is 1/2’’ (half an inch) in length and 1/2” in duration (half a second). In common written notation there is no distinction between the way we represent time and the way we represent distance— in writing there is no distinction between time and space. I love the poetry and the possibility of this simple quirk of our language. By meditatively accumulating fields of time-based marks the illusion of space is created. The drawing was made in one continuous 12-hour sitting and was crossed with a broken ribbon of white correction tape as a kind of final mark to signal its end.

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Kevin townsend tidal.jpg



$125 13"x19" (includes shipping)


Kevin Townsend

Tarpaper, china marker

Original size: 48"x78"

Appears on: Dark Coffee 90%

Kevin Townsend.jpg



$125 13"x19" (includes shipping)

Temporal Bifurcation 2014

Kevin Townsend

Tarpaper, china marker, white correction tape

Original size: 22"x30"

Appears on: Almonds Dark

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