Jade Townsend in her studio
Informed by fashion and graphic design, Jade’s work features colours and collage inspired by Pucci, Liberty, Hermès and Missoni prints. It references the New Ugly graphic design movement, employing lo-fi techniques to analyse processes of transformation.
Small painted studies on lino tiles sit between hand-cut vinyl designs to complete large floor installations which the audience is invited to walk on. Paintings hang like flags, unframed and pinned to the walls encouraging natural ripples and folds in the canvas.
Linoleum floor advertisements from the 50s, sculpted pillars of Cambodian ruins or fluorescent painted pigments on the walls of an Indian temple; they may be separate in gods and goods but they all share the promise of the utopian dream – that there is something better and newer.
“I remember three or so years ago having a conversation about ‘newness’”, says Jade. “The term sounded gross to me…Do we need a new word for newness? But I was living in London and new is all anyone cared about. …. Must haves, must buys, top 10, a checklist of things every person must have in one’s lifetime.”
Dexter Dalwood, Sven Lukin, Frank Stella, Georg Karl Pfahler, Nadine Prado, Jean Dewasne, Sam Friedman and Lee Langley are among the artists that inspired the painterly aspects within the works.
Jade Townsend graduated from the Manchester Metropolitan University (2009) with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Hons) and has since participated in exhibitions throughout the UK. She returned to New Zealand in 2012, working on The Hobbit as a painter and completing an Artist in Residence at 30 Upstairs, Wellington. In 2013 she exhibited at Artstation in Auckland with her solo show, GOOD NEWS FOR HARASSED HOUSEWIVES.
Jade has a background in fashion, producing window installations for Hermès boutiques across the UK after being scouted at her university degree show. Jade became a Hermès stylist working with Vogue, Dazed & Confused, Wallpaper and Harrods. Jade also worked with HOSTEM and Aimé creating installations, which she has continued to do in New Zealand at Harry’s, Wakefield Hotel, Te Papa and most recently Put those curls away you’re a policewoman now at Willis York.
The Best Things in Life Come Wrapped in Cellophane opens at 5.30pm on 13 March and runs until 5 April 2014 at Toi Pōneke Gallery, 61 Abel Smith Street.