Roger Towndrow

Job title
Head of Art
Email
roger.towndrow@falmouth.ac.uk
Telephone
01326 213842

Academic interests/teaching themes

My current research is based on concerns arising from my studio practice in drawing. This work collides images of proximity and distance; makes personal and cultural references (spanning centuries and continents); imagines impossible viewpoints; and uses direct observation, photography and digital sources to inform the imagery. This results in landscapes sometimes reminiscent of distorted panoramic views or pictorial maps, (the work of Albert Ruger mapping Midwest USA cities has been a direct reference), contradicting their conventions and terms of reference.

Prompted by the impersonality and huge range of the internet and the contrasting intimacy of direct observation and handmade drawing, I have attempted to create a series of works that explore an imaginative space populated by specific references to my immediate surroundings, artistic and personal influences, travel, and my current division of time between the UK and America.

I have used pencil on paper as the vehicle for these explorations, finding that the modesty, rawness and limited nature of the medium provides a discipline and structure from which to describe a varied and disparate imaginative experience. More fancifully, I like to think that the work is an expression of a kind of extended way of seeing; whereby I see the past through the eyes of other artists, at the same time as seeing across oceans and imagining impossible vantage points and perspectives.

Although I have used a number of photographic and digital sources, it is drawing from direct observation that I feel most clearly locates objects and subjects in space, and in so doing also locates the maker and viewer. As these drawings take form, everyday proximity and experience is recorded and subjected to influences of memory, association and disorientation. In some ways I'm unsure what these drawings might mean for the viewer. But as I write this in the Midwest in the same kind of deep snowy winter that inspired Hendrick Avercamp to describe the hardship and festivities of the season, and prepare to view the world from 35,000 feet on a flight that will land me back in the city of my birth, I feel that they may represent something of the layered experience of contemporary life as well as my own attempts to negotiate distance and cultural difference across two continents.

Academic/industry background and industry links:

Roger trained as a painter at Camberwell School of Art and went on to gain an MA in printmaking at Wimbledon School of Art in 1986. Prior to joining Falmouth in 1989, he worked as a muralist, lecturer, illustrator, printmaker and painter. Since joining the Fine Art staff at Falmouth, Roger also taught the 'The Serial and Sequential Image' module on the Integrated Masters Programme, and MA Fine Art. He taught on exchange at Sonoma State University, California, and was artist in residence at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts. He has exhibited widely in the UK and Europe and has work in public and private collections in the UK, Australia and America. Since 2002 Roger has been a member of the Council of Management at Newlyn Art Gallery.

External examiner

2011-15 Appointed External Examiner, Department of Print and New Media, Norwich University College of the Arts, UK