Gestural marks define the ground of the paintings, characterised by a complex colour palette, which activate the surface of the canvas. Contrasting this fast-paced dynamism is the decisive masking, in bold monochrome strokes, which brings a physical weight to the paintings and conceals in its resolve the noise beneath.
In a recent text on Mary Ramsden’s works, writer and curator Tom Morton relates them to our digital age, the ‘drag ‘n’ drop era’: “In an age of scroll and swipe, of capture and copy, there remains something fugitive about these works. Forms overlay each other, like windows open on a laptop screen, and pigment spills over the lip of the picture plane, where it collects in the neglected edge zones of the canvas, underscoring the physicality of the painted image, and the business of taking it in.”
However, when discussing the slick screen of tablets and smartphones, the artist is more attentive to the residual figure marks that smear the reflective surface than their untouched allure. When looking at Mary Ramsden’s work, even the monochromatic ‘skins’ and ‘wraps’ reveal an active surface caused by the direction of the brushstrokes, or by the use of abrasive sandpaper. The artist places an emphasis on the materiality of the painting as an object that has been handled: working on board, canvas and other surfaces such as aluminium, she incorporates the painting’s edges – where drips of paint accumulate and spill over the frontal plane and day-glow colours reverberate off the wall suggesting a hum of artificial light surrounding the work.
Mary Ramsden (1984) lives and works in London. Her most recent exhibitions include: Panda Sex, State of Concept, Athens (2014); New order II: British art today, Saatchi Gallery, London (2014); Consommé, Kinman, London (2013); Open Heart Surgery at The Moving Museum, London (2013); Temple Bar in Dublin (2012); and New Contemporaries, UK (2009).