Krista Townsend
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Strong Women Project

I started this series of paintings of strong women as a way to process and respond to our current political situation. It is astonishing to me that our country has not even passed the Equal Rights Amendment, and the more I talk about it, the more I find that most people don’t know that. The “Me Too Movement” of the past few years and most recently the bravery with which Dr. Christine Blazey Ford spoke about her experience with Brett Kavanaugh has been really inspiring. I thought, this must be enough outrage that something will change, yet, our country put him on our highest court and set us up to have rights we have fought for taken away. That was my tipping point. I couldn’t just watch anymore. The patriarchal society just isn’t working for the majority of this country. We are being led and manipulated by a minority. It’s time for a change and I truly believe that it will be women who will make it. So, creating this work and honoring these strong women is not only helping me process my anger and frustration, but maybe it will inspire and motivate people to support each others strength and speak up for our rights.

My Work

My work is a kind of conversation with my surroundings. Painting is my expression of what I perceive as interesting and beautiful. There is so much I see in the world that is worth painting. My subject is most often nature, gleaned from daily hikes and walks, but I also find human interaction with the natural world, the human figure, and all things we create fascinating.  Really, what captures my interest in is how light, color and shape define space and objects. I take these things in, forming the idea of a painting. Sometimes I think about it for a long time or revisit the place or object many times before the idea actually becomes a painting; other times, the colors and way the light forms the space propels me to my canvas immediately. I don’t try to recreate an exact replica of my subject, instead I want to express the experience of being in the space. A painting is inspired by a place or an object, but the painting eventually becomes the subject. I represent something I found beautiful, but in the end, the representation is itself, hopefully, a different object of beauty.

Krista graduated in 1994 from The Pennsylvania State University with a BA focusing on painting and biology. She studied Old Master techniques at the Schuler School of Fine Arts in Baltimore, MD, then in 1998 earned her MA from the Johns Hopkins University in Medical and Biological Illustration. Her career mainly focused on medical illustration for the first few years, but she began wanting a more expressive outlet to explore her interest in nature and biology. In 2000, she began to paint in oil again. She studied with painters at The Art League School in Alexandria, VA and completed a yearlong apprenticeship with portrait and landscape painter, Edward Reed. In 2007 she moved to Charlottesville, VA. She has shown her work in Virginia and Washington, DC for the past 10 years, entering many private and public collections including the University of Virginia Medical Center, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Health System, Martha Jefferson Hospital, The Country Club of Virginia, and more.  Her work is represented in Virginia by Glavé Kocen Gallery in Richmond and Les Yeux du Monde in Charlottesville, and in 2018 she joined Bee Street Studio in Dallas, TX. 

 Read more about Krista's background and process in the essay by Sarah Sargent from her 2018 solo show, Immersion, at Glavé Kocen.