In Venice, British Artist Lincoln Townley Unveils New Work on the Perils of Capitalism

The exhibition, which has been on view since April, will see a refreshed collection of works on view.

Artist Lincoln Townley with two of his works. Photo: Mia Chan. Courtesy of the artist.

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What You Need to Know: Coinciding with the 60th Venice Biennale, a solo exhibition of work by Lincoln Townley debuted in April at the Palazzo Bembo situated on the historic city’s Grand Canal. Marking 10 successful years of the artist’s “Bankers Collection,” the special exhibition is comprised of 24 abstract figurative oil paintings. The series investigates the themes commonly associated with the world of bankers and banking, including money and wealth obsession, greed, and power. The eight-month show, on view through November 24, 2024, has already completely sold out, leading to a new rotation of artworks in an exhibition “refresh.” Featuring range of scales, including several that are over eight-feet square, will offer viewers the opportunity to see more of Townley’s signature series.

A grouping of semi-abstract paintings by Lincoln Townley on easels in a studio space.

Photo: Mia Chan. Courtesy of the artist.

About the Artist: Lincoln Townley (b. 1972) is a largely self-taught British artist whose work is recognized for its gestural, emotive brushwork and frequently ominous compositions. Mining his own subconscious and investigating the darker, often subliminal, elements of contemporary life, Townley’s paintings reference his life before becoming an artist when he worked marketing night clubs. One of his most significant bodies of work, the “Bankers Collection,” reflects these multiple threads of artistic inquiry. Speaking of the series, Townley said, “I have always looked at greed as a very positive energy. In the case of my sell-out show at the Venice Biennale, it’s all about power consuming power, the savage god that my buyers worship! It’s the god we see only when we have the courage and the honesty to look beyond good and evil, to suspend our judgment and see our ravenous species for what it is. My collectors see themselves in my work, they hang these oil works with pride and celebrate the fact that they push boundaries to secure 100 percent of the deals they are working on within their financial world. There is glory in greed and glory can only be acquired through risk.”

Why We Like It: Townley’s compositions are full of unexpected elements that, together, create an air of the uncanny. Decidedly abstract, the glimmer of figures through the juxtaposing hues and brushstrokes invite focus from the viewer, as though if looking long enough the image will gain clarity or reveal other secrets. Though the motif of a businessman in a suit is culturally pervasive, Townley makes it his own with daring compositional interventions. As an ongoing body of work, the “Bankers Collection” reflects a certain contemporary zeitgeist, and speaks to the artist’s unwavering focus and fervor for capturing that elusive sentiment in paint.

See featured works below.

Lincoln Townley, from the “Banker Collection” (2024).

Lincoln Townley, from the “Banker Collection” (2024).

Lincoln Townley, from the “Banker Collection” (2024).

Lincoln Townley, from the “Banker Collection” (2024).

The Lincoln Townley exhibition in Venice, Italy, is on view through November 24, 2024.

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