Pieces that ramble… stretched skeins and crumbled worlds…
Rich chocolates, soft-pinks, banana-yellows, grassy greens and deep blacks are just some of the colours used by Ruth Thomas-Edmond to create careful abstractions made up of individual daubs, lyrical outlines and re-occurring units. Intricate and organic accumulations are made up of fractal-like tesselations that reflect themselves, rotating, meandering and permuting around empty spaces.
At the crux of Thomas-Edmond’s practice is imperfect repetition, whether it be fine, iterated pen-strokes, an ammassing of painted pockets or assemblages of cardboard shapes. The often obsessive nature of draghtmanship is of central importance and with the aid of ink-pens or drafting-pens filled with acrylic paint, Thomas-Edmond’s drawings are gently formed on board or paper. Elaborate alpine territories are conjured in detail by thin outlines and delicate, web-like, patterned nets that consist of multitudes of little lines and dots upon blank backgrounds. These repetitive patterns feature similar shapes drawn again and again, spreading, sprawling and stretching. Each unit is altered according to the circumstances in which it was drawn, shaped by gestures, changing light conditions and varying levels of attention. Some are traces of acute concentration, clarity and flow, others demonstrate slight fatigue, momentary lapses and endearing almost-errors.
Porous paper is also host to Thomas-Edmond’s paintings, often broad brushstrokes in acrylic paint are layered, overlapping again and again forming shapes that float upon voids of paper. Although somewhat abstract and ambiguous, each of these painted shapes bear hints and subtle shades of significance, due to variation in configuration, intensity and colour. From rich and leafy greens to soft peaches to furry greys, each tone evokes different materials, memories and sensations. Heap-like sculptures are composed of irregular rectilinear shapes cut-out of corrogated cardboard and sometimes painted with gelato-like shades of acrylic paint. Incised and slotted together to form confection-like models of craggy rock-formations are sometimes modest and manageable, sometimes monumental and crawling up gallery walls.
Even though these works touch upon elements of geology, geometry and geography, what is most evident is the process of art-making, whether it involves drawing, the application of paint or the slow puzzling-out and construction of marquettes. Delightful complexity is wrought from simple elements that appear again and again through a virtuosic manipulation of expressive colour, meandering lines and suggestive form.
Ruth Thomas-Edmond (b. 1977) currently lives and works in Wellington. She graduated from Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland in 2005 with a Master of Fine Arts and since then has exhibited in public and private galleries both locally and nationally. Recent exhibitions include: Ruth Thomas-Edmond | Alexi Willemsen (Melanie Roger, Auckland, 2011), A Room. A Window. A Chair. Silence. (Anna Bibby, Auckland, 2010), Heap (Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts, Pakuranga, 2010) and That night there was wind in the trees and other paintings (RAMP, Hamilton, 2009). Thomas-Edmond has also exhibited within curated exhibitions and group shows including The Obstinate Object (City Gallery, Wellington, 2012), Cloud 9 (Christchurch Art Gallery, 2009) and New Painters Show (Bartley and Company Art, Wellington, 2009) and her work has also been featured in publications such as Warwick Brown’s Seen This Century: 100 Contemporary New Zealand Artists: A Collector’s Guide (2009), the catalogue by James Robertson This Way Up(2008) as well as Melbourne-based Crease magazine (Melbourne).
For additional information and a complete CV please contact the gallery.
 James Robertson, This Way Up: On the Work of Ruth Thomas-Edmond. (High-Street Project: Christchurch, 2008).
THE SUGARED HEAP
Aaron Lister, The Obstinate Object, City Gallery
TWO PAINTERS AT MELANIE ROGER GALLERY
John HUrrell, Eyecontact review
REDS AND PINKS
Susie Pratt, catalogue publication
DRAMATIC CARDBOARD LANDSCAPE
John Hurrell, Eyecontact review
THIS WAY UP
James Robertson, catalogue publication
RUTH THOMAS EDMOND
Warwick Brown, Seen This Century, Godwit