Patricia Townsend

Associate Member

My art practice draws on my experience as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist and, in particular, on the ideas of the psychoanalyst D.W.Winnicott concerning transitional phenomena (phenomena related to an intermediate position between fantasy and reality). Recent work includes a series of moving image pieces related to Morecambe Bay in North-West England, a treacherous area of quicksands and rapid tidal flow. In these I use video (On the Shores and The Quick and the Dead), animation and installation (Bay Mountain and Under the Skin) to explore the shifting relationship between land and water, above and below, inner and outer worlds. This landscape lends itself to an exploration of the ‘intermediate area of experiencing’ described by Winnicott in that it is itself an intermediate space – neither wholly land nor sea but constantly shifting from one to the other.

My doctoral research investigates the process of creating visual art and questions whether a psychoanalytic approach can illuminate this process. My chapter ‘Making Space’ in Little Madnesses: Winnicott, Transitional Phenomena and Cultural Experience ed. Annette Kuhn (I.B. Tauris, 2013) explores my own process of creating the Morecambe Bay series of works. Further research involves interviews with other professional visual artists and the sound installation The Other Room includes recordings of 26 of these interviews.

townsend TheCirclesThey Desire ptowns-itchesance


  • 2010
    • MPhil/PhD programme (Slade School of Fine Art)
  • 2002 – 2003
    • M.A. Photography (University of the Arts, London). Distinction.

Training in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (Westminster Pastoral Foundation)
Honours Degree in Physics (Somerville College, Oxford)

Solo / DuoExhibitions

  • 2013
    • Re-imagining Morecambe Bay. Brantwood, Coniston.(Forthcoming: Sept)
  • 2007 – 08
    • The Circles they Desire. The Dock Museum, Barrow-in-Furness. (Nov – Feb)
  • 2006
    • The Circles they Desire. Borland Gallery, Salford.
  • 2001
    • Heavenly Bodies. Paolozzi Gallery, London
  • 2000
    • Transforming Myth. TRACE, Weymouth.
  • 1999 – 00
    • Transforming Myth. Gallery 1885.(Dec – Jan)
  • 1990
    • Inner Worlds. Islington Arts Factory.

Selected Group Exhibitions

  • 2012
    • The Other Room in Making Space. Slade Research Centre, UCL, London.
  • 2011
    • The Way in Elusive. Camberwell Space, Camberwell College of Arts, London.
    • Under the Skin in Surplus to Requirements? Slade Research Centre, UCL, London.
  • 2010
    • The Quick and the Dead in Sedition. Tullie House Art Gallery, Carlisle.
    • On the Shores in Your Future Needs You. ArtGene, Barrow-in-Furness.
    • The Gathering in Equal Night. The Dissenters’ Chapel and Gallery, London
  • 2009
    • On the Shores, Bay Mountain, I am/I am not, Don’t Go in Six. Slade Research Centre, UCL, London.
    • On the Shores in Sequel: a Slade/Strang collaboration. Strang Print Room, University College London.
  • 2008
    • The Gathering and The Spectators in In the Window Fold Gallery, Kirkby Stephen.
  • 2006
    • Dance in group exhibition Talkshow., Lounge, London.
  • 2005
    • Full Circle in North-West Open Exhibition. Art Gene, Barrow-in-Furness.
  • 2004
    • The Spectators in group exhibition The Trace Edition. Hirschl Contemporary Art, London.
    • The Way in group exhibition Elegant Underground. raumpool e.V., Frankfurt.
  • 2003
    • Full Circle in group exhibition Attentive Lounge, London.
  • 2002
    • Ecclesia Mater and Spotless in group exhibition Obsessions II. Huddersfield Art Gallery.
  • 2001
    • Spread the Word Henley Festival – Towpath Gallery.
  • 2000
    • Ecclesia Mater as part of group exhibition Obsessions Herefordshire Photography Festival – Globe Gallery, Hay-on-Wye.
    • Cumbria Contemporary Print and Photography Beacon Gallery, Whitehaven; Dock Museum, Barrow in Furness (Feb – April 2001).
  • 1999
    • Ecclesia Mater as part of group exhibition ObsessionsStandpoint Gallery.
  • 1997
    • Unfolding Fetal medicine unit, St George’s Hospital.
  • 1994 – 95
    • Touring exhibition. Viewfindings – Women Photographers, Landscape and Environment. Newlyn Orion Gallery; Watershed Gallery, Bristol;
    • National Museum of Photography, Bradford; Zone Gallery, Newcastle. (Oct – Aug)
  • 1994
    • Creating the Subject. Morley Gallery.
    • London Independent Photography exhibition. Barbican Library.
    • Photofusion. Group show In Search of Self.
  • 1992
    • Photofusion opening exhibition.
  • 1988
    • Madwoman in the Attic.Camberwell School of Art.
    • Spectrum Women’s Photography Festival Open South London Gallery.

Screenings of Video Works

  • 2011
    • The Quick and the Dead in Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival. Hawick, Scotland.
  • 2010
    • Old Man’s Beard in Thema Psycedelica, Pocket Films Festival. Forum des Images, Paris.
  • 2008 -10
    • Dance, The Gathering and The Quick and the Dead in Elixir Programme. Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.
  • 2006
    • Dance in Intermix. The BBC Big Screen, Leeds Film Festival.
    • Dance in moving image art event Time Flesh and Nerve. Lounge, London.
    • The BBC Big Screen, Exchange Square, Manchester. Full Circle in The Bigger Picture.
  • 2004
    • Present Absence in short film/video screening Intermix 04 at Cathedral Hall, Leeds International Film Festival. Toured to The Lamp, Hull.
    • Full Circle in short film/ video screening Waterworks. Fotofest 2004, Houston, Texas. Toured to 111 Minna Gallery, San Francisco; The Garage, Winston-Salem; Clinton Street Theatre, Portland; 21 Grand, Oakand; Miami Beach cinematheque, Miami; Voyage at Bada Lounge, Seattle; Neuer Standort, Vienna, Austria.


  • 2013
    • Making Space in Little Madnesses: Winnicott, Transitional Phenomena and Cultural Experience, Ed. Annette Kuhn. I.B.Tauris.
  • 2010
    • Work discussed in Space in-between in Women and Landscape Photography in Britain by Liz Wells in The Weight of Photography: Photography History, Theory and Criticism, Introductory Readings, Ed. Johan Swinnen and Luc Deneulin. Academic and Scientific Publishers: Brussels.
  • 2005
    • Transitional Spaces: surface, fantasy and illusion in Surface, University of Plymouth Press.
  • 1999
    • Work discussed in Nexus: Theory and Practice in Contemporary Women’s Photography; Volume 6 Palpable Signs by Barry Taylor, edited by Marsha Meskimmon, Scarlet Press.
  • 1994
    • Work featured in the book Viewfindings – Women Photographers, Landscape and Environment, Availablelight.
  • 1991
    • Contributor to the Women Artists’ Diary.


  • 2007- 8
    • Arts Council individual artist’s award to develop Witches’ Dance and to exhibit The Circles they Desire at the Dock Museum.
  • 2006
    • Arts Council individual artist’s award to develop The Circles they Desire.
  • 2002
    • Group granted National Lottery’s Awards for All award for Obsessions II exhibition and study day at Huddersfield Art Gallery.
  • 1998 – 9
    • Group granted A4E Express award to produce work for Obsessions exhibition at Standpoint Gallery and to conduct associated study day.
  • 1996
    • London Arts Board individual artist’s award for Transforming Myth.

Selected Presentations

  • 2012
    • University of Plymouth. Re-imagining Morecambe Bay. Paper given at international conference Water: Image
  • 2011
    • Royal College of Art, London. Envisioning the Unseen. Paper given at international conference Imagining Imagination.
  • 2010
    • Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery. Artist’s presentation in connection with the exhibition Sedition
  • 2008
    • Talking About Contemporary Art, Kendal. Artist’s talk.
  • 2006
    • University of Sunderland. Artist’s talk.
  • 2005
    • Salford University. Artist’s talk.
    • Leeds College of Art and Design. Artist’s presentation and masterclass.
  • 2004
    • Transitional Spaces: surface, fantasy and illusion. Guest speaker at symposium Land/Water and ‘Surface’. University of Plymouth, Exeter. June 24th-25th

Patricia Townsend

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