Born in the UK, Polly Townsend studied at The University of Wales, Aberystwyth and then completed an MFA at the Slade School of Fine Art, London. Polly trained in the life room under Euan Uglow and in 2000 was awarded the Slade Life Drawing prize, judged by Paula Rego. In 2001, she won the Slade School Duveen travel Scholarship and chose to advance her interest in landscape painting by visiting the Tibetan Himalayas. She has since returned to the region many times and is a regular (often solo) adventurer to many other remote mountainous regions around the world including in India, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Bolivia and the USA.
Polly now focuses exclusively on landscape-based work. She subjects bleak terrain to a scrutiny of colour and form examinations and portrays narrative using a variety of compositional devices.
Favouring remote high plateau and mountain regions Polly’s journeys are long and usually unplanned. She takes a lightweight collapsible stretcher and makes small paintings and sketches on site. She returns to her studio to complete the work and filter the memories through an urban context. In addition to solo and group exhibitions of her paintings in the UK and USA Polly has work in various private and public collections.
Polly Townsend currently lives and works in Washington D.C.