Jill Townsley

Another artist I learned of via the Compulsive, Obsessive, Repetitive show was Jill Townsley. At first on her site I was thinking, where is her work that puts her into this category but then I decided to get in the “way back” machine and see what she was up to in 1992.

The above piece is called, “Mathematics of the Eye” – it’s made of stiffened muslin and cord and the size of the person next to the piece can give you a sense of scale! These pieces are huge. I like that they look like teepees.

The above and the below two are from 1993, while Jill seemed to still be pretty into stiffened muslin. I’m not sure what she uses as her fabric stiffener – I usually use spray start in large quantities but it is probably something more serious given the structural things she’s got going on. The above is called, “One Line and a Diagonal.”

Amazing, “White Form” also from 1993.

Appropriately enough, the above is called, “Bucky” – it too is stiffened muslin and dowels and is big enough to walk right through.

Here’s where we get into the weird stuff, 1996. “At What Level” is made of perspex tubing (no idea, will need to Google later), fishing line and liquid plastic casing, which I think I may need to invest in. My weekend projects this weekend included finishing a bar cart for our apartment, making a lamp out of a tortoise shell and sewing several gifts for various friends / thank yous – none of these involved liquid plastic and I feel like that’s a miss.

These don’t have a human next to them for scale – but they’re 9 feet high, which is really impressive especially as the casing appears to be unbroken – I have no concept of how these are crafted or is they’re hard or soft but I imagine they’re soft / hanging in some way.

“Telescopium” is made of monofilament as well – it looks like a snake’s shedding to me…a huge snake.

She has a series of these pieces made of fishing line over several years. They look like growths either on trees or walls that clearly don’t belong. Maybe it’s all the space-related movies out right now but these remind me of prosthetics onto things around them.

That is just wire – and while it reminds me of Tara Donovan’s cube pieces made out of a single material this one is much larger, over six feet!

The blue pieces you see are broom bristles and the connectors are just common balls – it’s like K’Nex for adults to me!

Of all her pieces, the above from 2005 resonates the strongest with what I like. The freeform, underwater quality of the above is awesome. These are made of polystyrene beads and PVA – even the way they are lit accentuates how amorphous they are.

I couldn’t not include a piece of her more recent work from 2008 – I bet you can’t guess what those are! Plastic spoons and rubber bands. So cool!

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