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b. 1984, United Kingdom

Mary Ramsden Biography

London-based English artist Mary Ramsden is predominantly a painter of seemingly soft, minimal, abstract works that explore the interplay of smooth geometry, simple but powerful colour palettes, and painterly gesture. Over her career, the artist's work has been exhibited in prominent galleries across London including Tate Britain, Royal Academy of Arts, Saatchi Gallery, Fiorucci Art Trust, Pilar Corrias, and Kinman, as well as overseas in State of Concept Athens and the Aspen Art Museum.

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After studying at the Leith School of Art and Edinburgh College of Art, Ramsden went on to study at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, under the influence of Richard Kirwan, Brian Griffiths, and Vanessa Jackson, graduating in 2013. This was followed in 2015 by a two-month American residency at Steep Rock Arts, Connecticut. Over the course of her education, the budding artist developed a fascination and principle concern with the nature of abstract painting itself and how to make it into a progressive language.

Ramsden's practice revolves around creating painted objects with an apparent compositional unity that conceals the complex nature of their production. Refusing any reading beyond form itself, her art is seemingly simplistic, subtly combining smooth planes and singular voluminous forms sporting hard edges with jarring, gestural, painterly marks in a seamless fashion. With a palette dominated by one or two colours, all tonal hues are pushed to the edges. However, beneath the smooth surface and hard edges created with wide brush strokes and enhanced by cloth and sandpaper wiping, one detects a sense of movement and fierce energy between the layers of paint. Working on the floor, the artist turns her canvas, where the paint impacts with force, into a battlefield of antagonistic forces—forces that create and undo, highlight and conceal, give and take—that she works with in control from above until their conflicts are resolved.

Careful thought is put into every contrast and connection between colour, shape, and painterly mark. Each incremental adjustment in palette, scale, and variation of gestural strokes is made within a broader emphasis on experimentation—both a driving force and a core subject in Ramsden's artwork. For the group exhibition I'm here but you've gone (Fiorucci Art Trust, London, 2015), curated by Milovan Farronato and Stella Bottai, along with the other participants Ramsden was challenged to explore scent as a medium, pushing further the boundaries of contemporary art and the artist's own practice.

Throughout her work Ramsden has retained a preoccupation with the edge as a formal subject to experiment with. In artworks like *hurls not girls (2015) this preoccupation is combined with an exploration of modern, digitally oriented life. The work speaks to the sharp edges, sliding, scrolling, and cropping of smartphones. Bringing the painterly into technology-fixated modern life, the exhibition Swipe (Pilar Corrias, London, 2015), included a series that mimics the black neon-tinted palette, sharp forms, and gestural movements (the smudges of fingers across a black touch screen) through which one engages with digital media.

Ocula | 2019

Mary Ramsden Featured Artworks

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stockpile.sedative.strides by Mary Ramsden contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Mary Ramsden stockpile.sedative.strides, 2021 Oil on canvas
140 x 180 cm
Pilar Corrias Enquire
Through to the blue by Mary Ramsden contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Mary Ramsden Through to the blue, 2021 Oil on canvas
128 x 140 cm
Pilar Corrias Enquire
'Here we left it' by Mary Ramsden contemporary artwork painting
Mary Ramsden 'Here we left it', 2021 Oil on canvas
150 x 180 cm
Pilar Corrias Enquire
'stitching a laugh to a darkness part 1' by Mary Ramsden contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Mary Ramsden 'stitching a laugh to a darkness part 1', 2021 Oil on canvas
150 x 90 cm
Pilar Corrias Enquire
'like realising you’re having a dream' by Mary Ramsden contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Mary Ramsden 'like realising you’re having a dream', 2021 Oil on canvas
150 x 90 cm
Pilar Corrias Enquire
'A holder. A recipient' by Mary Ramsden contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Mary Ramsden 'A holder. A recipient', 2021 Oil on canvas
150 x 180 cm
Pilar Corrias Enquire
Stay stopped by Mary Ramsden contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Mary Ramsden Stay stopped, 2021 Oil on canvas
127 x 142 cm
Pilar Corrias Enquire
ev’ry part by Mary Ramsden contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Mary Ramsden ev’ry part, 2021 Oil on canvas
127 x 142 cm
Pilar Corrias Enquire

Mary Ramsden Recent Exhibitions

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