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Martha Townsend



Martha Townsend
Born in Ottawa in 1956






Five circles of amaranth wood and brushed aluminum laminated onto plywood


153 cm (diam.) (each circular panel)


Purchase, Ginette Trépanier Bequest and Fund of the Women of Influence Circle, inv. 2016.456


Quebec and Canadian Art

Commissioned by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts for the Path of Peace

A graduate of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (Halifax), Townsend has exhibited her work in Canada and Europe. Her art is distinctive for its evocative arrangements of materials and the simplicity of its forms. Townsend has developed a distinctive visual and poetic language that appeals to both the mind and the senses.

The artist describes this work as a wall sculpture. Faithful to her aesthetic vocabulary of circles and discs, she has created a pared down, elegant installation of great power. Belonging was inspired by the lunar eclipse of September 27, 2015, which was also called the “blood moon” because of its vibrant colouring. As Townsend explains: “A powerful idea occurred to me: ‘This is us!’ Never before had I such a complete sense of the unity of the Earth and everything on it.” She based her interpretation on the five phases of the “harvest moon eclipse” (normally seen at the time of the fall equinox) as sustenance for the mind. Her combination of brushed aluminum and amaranth wood, which gives off a rich deep glow, immerses visitors in a lyrical beauty ringed by an aura of mystery. We can move therefore through the phases of this astronomical phenomenon, which is just as captivating today as it was during the Renaissance. This work reminds us of the shift from a geocentric vision to a heliocentric one, of humanist astronomical exploration.

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