Paintings made with natural pigments of powdered earth, plants, minerals, milk and ash act as material explorations of alchemical agencies and metaphorical messages through the methods and media from which their voices emerge.

Denise Susanne Townsend, MFA, M.Ed.,

Born in Chicago, Illinois

Currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area

Selected Solo Exhibitions and Group Shows

2018 Il Filo Degli Altri, SACI Gallery, Florence, Italy

2017 Origin, co-curated by Tobias Tovera, Denise Susanne Townsend and Ari Rudenko, The Ark Project, Oakland, California

2016 Symbiosis, co-curated by Tobias Tovera and Denise Susanne Townsend, The Ark Project, Oakland, California

2016 Lucid Art Residency Annual Exhibition, Gallery Route One, Point Reyes Station, California

2014 Solo Exhibition, Ephemera, Andrew Clark Gallery, Denver, Colorado

2012 Il Filo Degli Altri, SACI Gallery, Florence, Italy

2012 Dynamo, Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, Boulder, Colorado

2012 Vernissage, San Francisco Art Institute MFA Thesis Exhibition, San Francisco, California

2011 Keeping an Eye on Surveillance, The Performance Art Institute, San Francisco, California

2011 Co·labor·ation, Diego Rivera Gallery, San Francisco, California

2010 Trio, Studio Soma, Denver, Colorado

2010 Thirteen, Diego Rivera Gallery, San Francisco, California

2010 Abandon, Swell Gallery, San Francisco, California

2009 6 Routes: Same Destination, La Corte Arte Contemporanea, Florence, Italy

2008 The Cradle Project, Albuquerque, New Mexico

2008 Solo Exhibition, Alaya Studio, Louisville, Colorado

Residencies, Honors and Awards

2016 The Ark Project, Oakland, California, an independent art studio and exhibition residency program with a focus on creation, presentation, and documentation of contemporary art in all forms that engage discovery, transformation and innovation (April)

2015 Lucid Art Foundation, Inverness, California, a month-long solo residency deep in the heart of the Bishop Pine Preserve dedicated to creative exploration and inquiry into arts and consciousness (February)

2012 Nominee and Finalist for the Headlands Graduate Fellowship, The Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, California


2012 San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, California, Master of Fine Arts

2009 Studio Art Centers International, Florence, Italy, Post-Baccalaureate in Fine Arts

2004 Colorado School of Energy Studies, Boulder, Colorado, BCST

2001 North American Institute of Medical Herbalism (formerly RMCBS), Boulder, Colorado, CCH

1991 Lesley University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Master of Education - Creative Arts in Learning


Denise is an interdisciplinary artist whose studies and practice of holistic modalities of healing deeply influence the agency of her art.  Inspired by indigenous cosmologies and culture through her many adventures to the high Andean mountains and deep Amazonian jungles of Peru, Denise moved abroad to begin formal education in the arts in Florence, Italy in 2008 and completed her MFA at the San Francisco Art Institute in San Francisco, California in 2012.  Her most recent travels have brought her to Sri Lanka, Bali, Costa Rica and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where she inquisitively ventured to live and work for eighteen months upon graduation from SFAI.  Awarded recent solo residencies at the Lucid Art Foundation in Inverness, California and the Ark Project in Oakland, California, Denise returned to the states and currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Her work has been exhibited in solo and group shows in the United States and Europe and is part of numerous private collections at home and abroad.

Selected Collections

Betty Jean Browning, Ottawa, Canada

Mary F. McGuire, Owings Mills, MD

John Kadlecek, Santa Fe, NM

Bobbie Luckett Owens, Boulder, CO

Sally Ray, Austin TX

Linda Gonzalez, Jasper Trail, CO

Lorenzo Pezzatini, Florence, Italy

Zita Xavier, Durango, CO

Arlene McIntyre, Florence, Italy

Maria Bailey, Boulder, CO

Curtis Ramsay, Crestone, CO

Robert and Julie Townsend, Park Forest, IL

Marcella Davis, San Francisco, CA

Melysa Reiss, San Diego, CA

Tavin and Marcie Dillie, Littleton, CO

Rendl M. Clark, Boulder, CO

Jane De Blieux, Park City, UT

Mona Shehab, Saudi Arabia

Susan Diana Walker, San Mateo, CA

Jessica Morningstar Wolf, Denver, CO

Heather Luttrell, Defiance, OH

Paul Batchelder, Conifer, CO

Deanna Gabriel, Boulder, CO

Karen Horan, Niwot, CO

David Lang Kessem, Boulder, CO

Ricardo Ocampo, Denver, CO


2013 “The In Between,” Post Baccalaureate Program, Studio Art Centers International, Florence, Italy

2011 “An Exploration of Inner Landscapes, Alchemical Upheavals and the Potential of Paint,” Studio Soma, Denver, Colorado

2011 “Creating Space: Dynamics of Energy in Space and Form,” Boulder, Colorado

2011 “Doorways of Perception: Cultivation of Awareness in the Depths of Nature,” Boulder, Colorado

2011 “Maintaining Equilibrium in Swift Currents of Change: Holistic Healing and the Arts," Boulder, Colorado

2010 “Pilgrimage to Peru: A Sacred Journey through the Andes," in collaboration with Gayle Yabar, Cusco, Sacred Valley, and the high Andean mountains of Peru, South America

2010 “Ways of Knowing, Ways of Seeing: An Exploration of the Cosmology of the Three Worlds,” Studio Soma, Denver, Colorado

2009 “The Energy of Intent: Cultivating Creativity, Consciousness and Connection,” Boulder, Colorado

2007 “Connecting Filaments of Light: A Sacred Journey through the Andes,” in collaboration with Gaye Yabar, Cusco, Sacred Valley, and the high Andean mountains of Peru, South America

2006 “In the Presence of the Mystery: Exploring the Indigenous Cosmology of Peru,” in collaboration with Gayle Yabar, Loveland, Colorado