Pilar Corrias is a gallerist with a notoriously hot programme. From Philippe Parreno to Tala Madani to Keren Cytter, the London space has been at the forefront of experimental, conceptual and digital works since she launched it over a decade ago. Increasingly, Corrias has been adding some exceptional painters to her programme with great success. Mary Ramsden is one of those names to watch.
British artist Ramsden’s gestural abstract paintings exude contrast. Her brushstrokes range from flat, smooth blocks of paint to strong textured impasto. Often the pieces are hung in unusual clusters, where multi-sized canvases form geometrical shapes. The paintings themselves are also full of lines and shapes, block and edges, most recently renders in pinks, blues, greys and blacks. Her painted objects are strongly about the history and changed conversations around painting itself, which has garnered her solo shows in recent years at Tate Britain and the Aspen Art Museum, and she was included in the very successful Surface Work group show of abstract female artists at Victoria Miro last year.
This is Ramsden’s fourth exhibition with Pilar Corrias, where she is showing a number of large works on the gallery’s ground floor that are notably larger than her past work, alongside some smaller pieces on panel in the basement. The paintings are all oil on polyester, created on the floor, which the artist sees as a single work, fluidly tied together with visual motifs. The colour shift in each is the definitive element that separates them. Her desire was to reference the more everyday motifs in the history of modernist painting – work such as Matisse’s interiors and Cézanne’s still lifes – and fuse them with the big formal emphasis of the abstract expressionist.
There are performative moments and a focus on the gestures of normal life and those of the paintbrush. These paintings – from £3,000 to £35,000 – should firmly establish Ramsden’s role as a young painter pushing abstraction in new directions. Here, the mundane becomes monumental, and the simple complex.