In 2008 Jennifer Townley (1983, NL) completed her degree in Artscience at the Royal Academy of Fine Art in The Hague (NL). Since then she has been working as an independent artist, creating mechanical sculptures that often move very slowly. Powered by electric motors her machines generate intense repetitive movements and changing patterns that subtly interfere with the spectators mind. Shapes are constantly being distorted and transformed, patterns convert smoothly into new patterns and independent forms seemingly unite. Within kinetic art her work can be distinguished by a smooth and peaceful operation and detailed finish and appearance.

The 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.

Altogether the sculptures celebrate the beauty and possibilities of mechanics while establishing elusive moments in which tangled figures suddenly seem perfectly aligned or geometrical shapes become an organic undivided unity. This fusion of mechanics and art that is characteristic for Townley's work has a diverse effect on the viewer. The open structure, industrial look and the carefully designed moving parts can trigger an analytical perspective; how is this made or how does this machine work mechanically? But meanwhile the repetitive movements and subtle changes in shape create a different kind of awareness, a quiet and peaceful feeling, even an almost hypnotic effect.


'Illusion', November, 2017 - March, 2018
OMSI, Portland, USA

'Illusion', January - August, 2017
Liberty Science Center, New Jersey, USA

'Illusion', June - November, 2016
Kunstkraftwerk, Leipzig, Germany

'Mens en Machine', March 19 - May 22, 2016
Cultuurhuis de Warande, Turnhout, Belgium

'Perpetual Transience', Febuary 9 - June 9, 2016
MB&F M.A.D. Gallery, Geneva, Switzerland

'In Motion', October 22 - November 15, 2015
Hotel Andel's, Lodz, Poland

'ART.FAIR, Gallery Franzis Engels', Sept. 24 - 27, 2015
Koelnmesse Hall, Cologne, Germany

'Illusion', September 4, 2015 - January 10, 2016
Petrosains Discovery Center, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

'Over 't IJ festival, ArtVenture', July 2 - 12, 2015
NDSM-werf, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

'Demarrage', June 28 - August 2, 2015
Gallery Kunstliefde, Utrecht, The Netherlands

'Reductive NL', June 25 - August 2, 2015
Umelka, Bratislava, Slovakia

'KunstRAI, Gallery Franzis Engels', May 27 - 31, 2015
RAI, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

'Reductive NL', March 27 - May 24, 2015
Tatranska Gallery, Poprad, Slovakia

'Keep moving', February 21 - March 22, 2015
Gallery Franzis Engels, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

'Illusion', February 3 - May 10, 2015
The Discovery Place, Charlotte, USA

'Reductive NL', January 22 - March 22, 2015
The Gallery of fine Arts, Ostrava, Czech Republic

'3 x Abstract', November 16, 2014 - January 4, 2015
Gallery EXPO 72, Alkmaar, The Netherlands

'Youtopia Arts Festival', November 21 - 23, 2014
Lloyd Hotel, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

'NL-konkret', November 16 - December 23, 2014
Kunstverein Langenfeld, Langenfeld, Germany

'Ars et Mathesis day', November 15, 2014
Grafisch Lyceum, Utrecht, The Netherlands

'Cry Havoc', October 31, 2014
Looiersgracht 60, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

'Reductive NL', July 3 - August 31, 2014
Galeria EL, Elblag, Poland

'Illusion', May 10, 2014 - January 15, 2015
The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, San Diego, USA

'Dag van de Wiskunst', April 4 - 5, 2014
MuntPunt, Brussels, Belgium

'Kunstlijn Haarlem', November 1 - 3, 2013
de Lichtfabriek, Haarlem, The Netherlands

'RE-ART t(W)oo', August 3 - October 20, 2013
Ihlienworth, Germany

'Illusion', July 11 - September 29, 2013
Science Gallery, Dublin, Ireland

'Bridges 2013', July 6 - August 17, 2013
Galerie Broekhuis, Enschede, The Netherlands

'Kinetica Art Fair', Februay 28 - March 3, 2013
Ambika P3, London, England

'Collective IMG_SRC', May 18 - June 20, 2012
Galerie FotoGrafic, Prague, Czech Republic

'Why Not! Festival', March 23 - 25, 2012
W139, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Permanent collection, March 1, 2012
MAD Museum, Stratford-upon-Avon, England

'Kinetica Art Fair', February 9 - 12, 2012
Ambika P3, London, England

'PLAY', February 5 - 19, 2012
Trafacka, Prague, Czech Republic