Mary Ramsden - Portrait of the Artist (Detail), photo credits Royal Academy of Arts

Mary Ramsden

April 27, 2016

Mary Ramsden makes subtle and soft paintings, using wide and gestural movements to emphasize the interplay of colors and shapes. She cleans up the canvas from excessive references, so the interpretation can be grasped with no initial inclinations. Her theme is more than just abstraction. Behind the geometric shapes and powerful color palette hides the field of activity that, at times, cracks through the domain of calmness and causes a certain buzz. She balances between contradictions, tranquility and agitation, action and steadiness. Her perfectly balanced paintings require the full attention of the viewer, so the constant level of engagement must be maintained.

Mary Ramsden - The Dirtiest Selfie at 50pt (Part 1), 2014 (Left) / Detail (Right)
Mary Ramsden - The Dirtiest Selfie at 50pt (Part 1), 2014 (Left) / Detail (Right)

Sharp Edges with Lively Movement

Ramsden was born in London where she graduated from Royal Acadamy of Arts in 2013. She worked and painted in the UK for years, before she took residency in Connecticut, USA. Studying at the Academy shaped her as an artist, but her individual and independent take on abstractions and color took her far forward in the art world. Making things appear simple requires more work than it seems, and Ramsden really mastered the skill of effortless and minimal appearance. Her pieces offer very sophisticated insight in abstraction painting. She uses wide brush strokes, sandpaper and cloth wiping to create sharp edges and smooth surfaces. In her paintings, every movement counts as a subject.

Ramsden mastered the skill of effortless and minimal appearance

Mary Ramsden - Hurls Not Girls, 2015
Mary Ramsden - Hurls Not Girls, 2015

Swipe to Unlock the Pictorial Space

Her work has been included in Tate Britain's exhibition called Vanilla and Concrete. Over the past few years, the artist exhibited her work in various places all over the London. With 2015 Swipe solo exhibition, Ramsden took a turn on modern technology which required perceiving her paintings in a more object-like perspective. She made paintings for this series on board, and added a neon edge to them, in order to mimic the artificial light of TV or computer screens. Not only her work induces magnetic engagement, she ingeniously adds a high-tech feel to her pieces. Inspired by sliding, scrolling and cropping, she imitates those movements and keeps her pieces alive, open, turned on.

Ramsden was inspired by sliding, scrolling and cropping movements

Mary Ramsden - Remote, 2014 (Left) / Detail (Right)
Mary Ramsden - Remote, 2014 (Left) / Detail (Right)

Movement to the Constant Flow

The feeling of movement and play allows her paintings to live and breathe. Even when her work is quietly displayed on gallery walls, it gives a certain feeling that it constantly changes. Sometimes it looks like something is falling over the edge, or that a certain object hides under the patch of color. That is the real appeal of Ramsden's painting. The ability to tell so much and still leave something hidden that will haunt the viewer and inspire him to investigate. In our contemporary times, we always keep dozens of tabs open, on various screens, and the overlap of information blinds us to see the essence of what we were searching for. That is the sort of meaning that plays hide and seek in stunning paintings of Mary Ramsden.

Mary Ramsden lives and works in London.

All images used for illustrative purpose only, photo credits Tate Britain © Mary Ramsden

Featured image: Mary Ramsden - Portrait of the Artist (Detail), photo credits Royal Academy of Arts