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M Edmondson refers to her practice as 'representation of painting’ rather than being representational.
Despite the overt use of faces as her image source, she regards her work as neither figurative paintings nor portraits. Employing the momentary seduction of fashion photography to lure the viewers into the world of idealised beauty and yearning, her paintings mimic the styles and codes of the desire industry to question the value and obsessions of aspirational perfection.
Just as in fashion photography, where the model is a support for the product and contextualises it, such images also support and contextualise Edmondson’s paintings. Although seductive, the ideal they present becomes hyper-real: the image is devoid of identity and a paradoxically empty facade, which is quickly consumed, giving way to the anxiety and obsession that assert these paintings as paintings. Beyond the image that gives them their presence, what is being portrayed here is the question of the aspirational perfection of painting itself. As the viewer engages with these works and scans the surface, shifting their reading between fantasy and the tropes of modernist abstract painting, the skin of the image and the skin of the painted surface, these works become paintings of unattainable desire.


In recent years, the sources of images have undergone substantial changes in comparison to those from earlier years. Currently, I search for them online, particularly on social media platforms, where notions of beauty and desirability possess their own system of worth due to the ubiquity of Photoshop and filters. People behind those images are manipulating and projecting altered representations of themselves in a manner that aligns with their perception of ideal, embodying their aspirational 'perfection' that bears resemblance to the creations by artificial intelligence. They appear to inhabit a universe where everyone is willing to embrace convincing, or not-so-convincing, lies. The boundary between reality and its representation has been completely erased, leaving only the simulacrum. My paintings reflect that state of 'hyperreal' reality.
While I acknowledge the absurdity of the fixation on achieving a particular form of idealised flawlessness, I want to clarify, as an artist, that I do not aim to endorse or condemn this phenomenon in my work. I prefer to merely present a question mark that allows the viewer to interpret it according to their own perception. I simply highlight the aspirations of the person behind the image, who has now been consumed and disappeared into their own simulacrum. The distinction between reality and its representation has ceased to exist, leaving only the simulacrum.
Within my work, the underlying aspiration of the person behind the image, which paradoxically erases that same individual entirely, is closely intertwined with the aspiration of the language of painting itself. While acknowledging all its virtues, it is simultaneously acutely conscious of its own lengthy and, at times problematic, history as an antiquated medium. My intended outcome is that those faces in my paintings allude to the aspiration and anxiety of the language of painting. This intentionally fosters ambiguity or the possibility of polysemy in the interpretation by the audience.


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Since completing her MFA in Fine Art at Goldsmiths College, University of London, in 1995, Edmondson has shown internationally with galleries such as:

Victoria Miro Gallery (London), Laurent Delaye Gallery (London), Galerie Axel Thieme (Darmstadt), Archimede Staffolini Gallery (Nicosia), Andre Millan Gallery (Sao Paulo), Oscar Cruz Gallery (Rio), the apartment (Athens), Galeria Mário Sequeira (Braga), Rhodes and Mann (London), DomoBaal (London), The Sander Collection (Berlin), Nicholas Robinson Gallery (NY), Galerie Peter Zimmermann (Manheim), ArtFirst (London), UNIX Gallery (NY).


And she has also shown in public spaces and museums, including Whitechapel Gallery (London), Centro Brasileiro Britanico (Sao Paulo), Stills (Edinburgh), Museum Voorlinden (Netherlands), The Nunnery (London), Harris Museum (Preston), Rangers House Museum (London), Cornerhouse (Manchester), The Exchange-Newlyn Art Gallery, Bradford1-Bradford Museum, and most recently at Graves Gallery/Museums Sheffield as a part of the group exhibition 'HEADS ROLL, which was curated by Paul Morrison in 2018.


Her paintings have been shown in numerous curated shows, alongside the works of:

Alex Katz, Glenn Brown, Peter Doig, John Currin, Elizabeth Peyton, Yinka Shonibare, Jeff Koons, Tony Oursler, Takashi Murakami, Yoshitomo Nara, Cindy Sherman, Mariko Mori, Marlene Dumas, Michael Craig-Martin, Paul Morrison, Mark Wallinger, Andy Warhol, and many more


Having been featured regularly on auction houses such as Sotheby’s and Christie’s, a couple of her paintings have achieved more than six figures (USD) in the past.


Edmondson is a British artist.

After a 4-year stint in New York, she now lives and works in London, where she has been since the early 1980s.

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