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Artists Edith Rimmington
Edith Rimmington Photo

Edith Rimmington

British Painter, Photographer, Poet

Movement: Surrealism

Born: 1902 - Leicester, England

Died: 1986 - Bexhill, Sussex in England

Edith Rimmington Timeline

Quotes

"The wise eye sees the substitute running its poisonous imprisoned course in the cystic tomb."
Edith Rimmington
"I see the dark sad face of the wounded man as the arm is amputated."
Edith Rimmington
"With the blood of the wound, rushing like the river to the sea - oh life orgasm - the river is damned."
Edith Rimmington
"The banks do not overflow and the lice chokes as the arm stiffens."
Edith Rimmington
"I am the feel of the hanging branch. I am the birds' song and as the bird is silent movement becomes stillness revealing happiness."
Edith Rimmington
"As I toss and turn on the velvet cushion memories harden the ersatz filling and as I feel the soft sand turn quick I clutch at the horse's mane. He shies at the bright new penny and I am flung on the hard rocks. In the many colours of my bruises I see the NEW - like the open shuttered awareness of the desert."
Edith Rimmington
"I roam in the circle of silence but always the snake swallows its tail, the rope is knotted, the belt fastened and though the gate is open it closes. In the darkness of my room I hear the sound track of misery."
Edith Rimmington
"From the hills of sleep to the plains of awake, passed still pale apathetic tree masses, watching black chain-bound loads, oil bellies, repressed girders, drawn unresisting, arteries hardened, drifting like a smoke line..."
Edith Rimmington
"After the silence of relaxation the flower buds open, exhausted, only to die from rhythm eaten roots. As death moves slowly oh the torture of waiting for a new rhythm."
Edith Rimmington
"The hair waves break on the shore of white picked bones, reluctantly turning to the dun of to-morrow, empty the fury of yesterday."
Edith Rimmington
"(The sea is) a vast water brain (that) seems to hold all the secrets."
Edith Rimmington

"As fantasy in the claws of the poet is released by the broken arm it becomes imprisoned in the ossiferous callous wherein lice build themselves a tomb in which to escape the magic of the marvellous."

Synopsis

Edith Rimmington had a curious mind and a boundless imagination and as such became a highly respected and central member of the British Surrealist Group. Although less well known than its Parisian equivalent, Surrealists based in London and Birmingham aspired to the same principles, tirelessly investigating dreams and the subconscious. Indeed, from the beginning to the end of her career, Rimmington was profoundly influenced by Salvador Dalí. Having first encountered Dalí in 1936 at the International Exhibition of Surrealism, the image of the diving suit that the Spanish artist had worn to the opening then appeared repeatedly in Rimmington's paintings. Furthermore, Rimmington was attracted to images of the repugnant, as was Dalí, with the themes of death, decay, and re-birth being longstanding concerns for both. Later in life she painted less but continued to write poetry, practice automatic writing, and to take photographs of her natural surroundings. Alongside other artist contemporaries, she settled on the coast of Sussex, making a literal statement about living life on the edge.

Key Ideas

Many works by Rimmington reveal a tendency toward the darker depths of the imagination. She was deeply affected by the shocking images of maimed and wounded soldiers in World War II, and as such many of her works depict dismembered body parts and speak of the utter horrors of war. Steering away from fantasy, her work echoes dissent Surrealist ideology that had been theorised by Georges Bataille and Jacques André-Boiffard.
Indeed, her work often has an anatomical and biological quality of dissection to it. As animals appear as hybrids or in states of transformation, Rimmington makes reference to ideas of mimicry as discussed by the French intellectual Roger Caillois. In this respect her pictures successfully combine two great curiosities: art and science. At times, a work by Rimmington looks like a medical textbook illustration - albeit with a Surrealist twist.
Many of Rimmington's paintings feature claustrophobic interior spaces with unusual perspectives and a repeated checkered-floor motif. This links her work to an international cast of female Surrealists, including and in particular Remedios Varo and Leonora Carrington. Similar to the Yin Yang symbol's use of black and white to illustrate seeming contrast, checkered boards reinforce the important Surrealist notion of combining opposites. Furthermore, all three of these artists are drawn to a "she-bird" figure; again uniting the opposite desires to be at once earth and sky bound, and also illustrating a newfound and shared sense of freedom.
In later works when Rimmington focuses predominantly on photography she exposes the specifically British Surrealist interest in merging with the natural environment, and more specifically, with the sea. Dissolving boundaries between the animate and the inanimate, between the rock and the human, and between the sea and the shore, becomes a speciality of Rimmington. This is an interest intimately shared by fellow British Surrealists Ithell Colquhoun, Eileen Agar, and Emmy Bridgewater.
Edith Rimmington Photo

Edith Rimmington was born in 1902 in Leicester, a city in the East Midlands of England. Unfortunately there is very little information available on her childhood.

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Edith Rimmington
Interactive chart with Edith Rimmington's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Salvador DalíSalvador Dalí
André BretonAndré Breton
E. L. T. MesensE. L. T. Mesens
George Onslow-Ford

Personal Contacts

Emmy Bridgewater
Eileen AgarEileen Agar
Conroy Maddox
Edward Burra
John Banting

Movements

SurrealismSurrealism

Influences on Artist
Edith Rimmington
Edith Rimmington
Years Worked: 1939 - 86
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Paula RegoPaula Rego
Stanley Spencer
Helen Chadwick

Personal Contacts

Emmy Bridgewater
Eileen AgarEileen Agar

Movements

SurrealismSurrealism
Feminist MovementFeminist Movement

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Content compiled and written by Rosie Lesso

Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Rebecca Baillie

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Rosie Lesso
Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Rebecca Baillie
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