Using energetic gestural abstraction, Elise Ansel translates Old Master paintings into a contemporary pictorial language. She mines art historical imagery for colour and form, setting aside the narrative and pictorial elements of these paintings and creating room for new interpretations. Her works interrupt linear readings of Old Master paintings, repurposing and highlighting the unexpected. The representational content is transformed into a celebration of colour, gesture, and the materiality of paint. In the process of reducing her inspirations to their most fundamental forms, she retains their power and energy, replacing imagery with dynamic movement and dramatic colour and light.Read More
'Elise has assimilated the originals at an unprecedented level, an almost atomic level, a level in no way attainable without absolute mastery of form and materials, before exploding them onto the canvas as her own.' – Lara Santor
Her work deconstructs authorial agency in order to excavate and liberate meanings buried beneath the surface of the works from which her paintings spring. Old Master paintings were, for the most part, created by men for men. Abstraction allows her to interrupt this one-sided narrative and transform it into a sensually capacious, non-narrative form of visual communication, repurposing the patriarchal language and misogyny that dominates the history of art. Her retelling of these paintings is infused with the joy of interrupting history, replacing the past with raw expression and embracing multiple viewpoints.
Text courtesy Cadogan Gallery.