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Elise Ansel

American, b. 1961
Elise Ansel, Lotis, 2021
Elise Ansel, Lotis, 2021

Elise Ansel’s works act as a reminder of the past and its ability to influence the present and future.

Elise Ansel’s works act as a reminder of the past and its ability to influence the present and future. This notion of melding time is inspired by the first lines of T.S. Eliot’s “Burnt Norton,” (1936) the first of his Four Quartets: “Time present and time past / Are both perhaps present in time future. / And time future contained in time past.”   Ansel realizes that the past does not disappear over time, but rather remains a possibility within the frame of the future.  She uses abstraction to metamorphose paintings of the past into agents of transformation and change. Her analytic gaze transmutes historical art into iterative abstractions that represent these different possibilities, things that are unable to be explicitly pinned down.

Elise Ansel’s works act as a reminder of the past and its ability to influence the present and future. This notion of melding time is inspired by the first lines of T.S. Eliot’s “Burnt Norton,” (1936) the first of his Four Quartets: “Time present and time past / Are both perhaps present in time future. / And time future contained in time past.”   Ansel realizes that the past does not disappear over time, but rather remains a possibility within the frame of the future.  She uses abstraction to metamorphose paintings of the past into agents of transformation and change. Her analytic gaze transmutes historical art into iterative abstractions that represent these different possibilities, things that are unable to be explicitly pinned down. 

 

Ansel’s flowers expand on the idea of the past being open to re-interpretation in the present and future. The Flowers in a Glass Vase series springs from a Dutch Golden Age painting of the same name by Rachel Ruysch.  Ansel translates images of the Western canon into a contemporary pictorial language. She interprets historical art through the lens of abstract expressionism. Of her encounters with the paintings of Rachel Ruysch, she said, “I was energized by the opportunity to align myself with a female artist from another time, another place; to draw strength and inspiration from her accomplishments, and to extend what she had begun.” Ansel's Van Alest Tulip was inspired by Still Life with Flowers on a Marble ledge (1652) by Wiilem van Aelst, who was Ruysch's teacher.

 

The methods and techniques applied by Ansel involve an excavation of details; cropping and cutting, zooming in, and allowing for the deep scrutiny of Old Master paintings to be open to modern interpretation. Ultimately, Ansel’s goal is to create an original work that uses the depth and resonance of Old Master painting as a catalyst for transformation and change. Her intuitive brushstrokes of heavy paint further enhance the idea that there is no “right” perspective.

 

Elise Ansel was born in NYC. She lives and works in New York City and Portland, Maine. She received her BA from Brown University and MFA from Southern Methodist University. Her works are held in many public and private collections such as the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCAK) in Krakow Poland, the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, and the Evansville Museum of Arts and Sciences. Ansel has been the focus of many solo exhibitions, including exhibitions at Danese/Corey in New York City in 2017 and 2018, and most recently at Cadogan Contemporary in London in 2019, David Klein Gallery in Michigan in 2020, and Carol Corey Fine Art in Kent, Connecticut in 2020. Her works have also been featured in many group exhibitions including "Art in Art" at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCAK) in Kraków, Poland; "Pushing Painting” at the David Winton Bell Gallery at Brown University, and the Portland Museum of Art Biennial in 2018. Her work was included in the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in London in 2015 and 2019; and "Artists Choose Artists" at the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, NY in 2014. Most recently her work was featured in Art Miami with David Klein Gallery in 2020 and Winter Curation at Cynthia Corbett Gallery, London in 2020.

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