Townley's alternate moments of chaos & order and tension & release.
July 4, 2015
Jennifer TownleyThe works derive from her fascination with science, with an emphasis on physics, engineering and mathematics. Geometric patterns in Islamic art or mathematical drawings of Dutch artist M. C. Escher often serve as an inspiration. Images where lines and figures match each other so perfectly they could be repeated indefinitely. This infinity, regularity and obedience is what Townley also finds fascinating about mechanical machines; they are robust, strenuous and seemingly immortal. She is captivated by how a machine can convert a simple circular motion (rotary engine) into a very complicated nonlinear or chaotic movement pattern.
Besides her love for mechanics, human perception is also an area of great interest. The capability of our brain to simplify confusing visual information is a phenomenon with many examples, like optical illusions. As humans we are extremely focused on images that are 'correct' or 'orderly' and when we recognize a pattern within chaos it brings us a certain sense of peace. Townley's sculptures often produce movements that alternate moments of chaos and order, resulting in interesting compositions of tension and relief.
The kinetic sculpture by Jennifer Townley is titled "Asinas" (2015)
Wood, metal, electric motor and mechanical parts.
The double helix that forms this mechanical sculpture produces a smooth and natural motion. It shows how a complex and organic appearing creation can be established only by repeating and alternating simple angular geometric shapes. The sixty-five white elements that form the two helixes increase in size towards the middle of the sculpture giving it a conic shape.
The elements consist of three straight line segments that are conjoined like a Z with 90 degree angles. Alternating them on the axle in a mirrored position makes the two helixes twist in opposite direction. One helix is right-handed and its elements are fixed on the axle. The elements of the left-handed helix are connected to one another through small spacers. The different ways of fixating the elements allows for the two shapes to neatly intertwine and slide through each other. By rotating them slowly in opposite directions and at slightly different speeds the structure gradually transforms.