Over the past few years there has been a focal shift in my practice where not only am i working to develop the individual paintings but increasingly want to see how they can collaborate with one another as a collection of moving parts. The conversations between works has become a fundamental aspect of how I make things and so recently i’ve been trying to push these groups of different elements that finally come together to form a totality.
During my time at LaB I wanted to experiment with this aspect and in particular, the surfaces I am engaging with. I spent a lot of time hunting about for different bits about the place and surrounding area that might spark new dialogues when sitting alongside the paintings. This turned out to be a productive way to divide up my time, either in the studio painting and shuffling paintings about or out scavenging for things that already had their own agency. One approach would feed into the other and keep both enterprises lively and curious. These two speeds of activity began to be apparent in the sensibilities within the groups. When a painting was hung next to a silver slice of tent fabric (simply stretched around a panel) the different attitudes of execution and a sort of distinctive management of materials created a good back and forth between the two temperatures. I discovered that experimenting with stuff outside of the medium of painting helped to dial-up the dynamism within the groups. By positioning two contrasting attitudes side by side I found a way for the separate units to talk more about what they are, what they’re made of and what I wanted them to do/be.
The majority of ‘found objects’ or found surfaces were man-made, artificial things and the plasticity of these pieces was an effective way to point at the the handled nature of the paintings, the hand. This is really important to me and something i ask the paintings to do, so finding a way to heighten this intention was a vital shift.
Pulling together the groups of works can feel a lot like making one big painting with rigorous rethinks until things start to get activated and the work is switched ‘on’. I used the whole studio in France as one big platform and spent my two months there shifting and editing things around the room until the chapters of works were asserting themselves not only as disparate groups but as a whole experience of that space. It was awesome.
Mary Ramsden (b 1984) makes painted objects that combine amorphous forms with bold, gestural mark-making. Ramsden uses a strong painterly language of brush strokes, palette, shifts in scale, and approach to the rectangular format in a broad experimental scheme. A graduate of Edinburgh College of Art , Leith School of Art, Edinburgh, and the Royal Academy Schools, Ramsden has exhibited in Europe and the US, including a solo show at The Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, CO.
Ramsden lives and works in London. Recent solo exhibitons include 'Zorro', Pilar Corrias, London (2019).