Elise Ansel | Amber and Ebony

October 24, 2017 3:01 pm Published by

ELISE ANSEL | Amber and Ebony

17th October – 4th November 2017

Private View | Tuesday, 17th October 2017

Light in August, oil on linen, 60″ x 48″; Large study I for Daphne and Apollo, oil on linen, 48″ x 60″; Large study I for Damascus, oil on linen, 60″ x 48″

Elise Ansel’s newest solo exhibition, ‘Amber and Ebony’, opened on 17th October at Cadogan Contemporary with a private viewing that evening. The American artist’s new paintings offer abstract re-interpretations based on the works of the Old Masters such as Caravaggio, Titian and Veronese.

Discussing her influences for this new collection of work, Ansel writes;

Long ago, I was given a copy of Ithaka by Constantin Cavafy and now, so many years later, I realize it’s a roadmap for artists. Like the Old Master paintings I work from, its meanings continue to unfold, over time, with each reading. I like the idea that the journey is more important than the destination, and that keeping your “thoughts raised high” and allowing a “rare excitement/ (to) stir your spirit and body” provides a shield of protection. I also like the fact that Cavafy places equal emphasis on sensual pleasure and intellectual knowledge. For me, the treasures collected along the way, “mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,” are the paintings seen on various trips which I bring home in the form of quick scribbled sketches, picture postcards, and memories of experiences I had on site when standing before the works of art. When I begin to paint, I try to keep the sense of “summer morning when, with what pleasure, what joy, you come into harbors seen for the first time” alive so that each viewing and interaction with an Old Master work reveals something new and unexpected. The amber and ebony, the old gold, are the rewards of a sustained practice, multiple viewings, and an accretion of transcriptions of the same source, over time.

Ansel speaking at Cadogan Contemporary, 19th October 2017.

Ansel taught a masterclass for The New School of Art at the National Gallery on Wednesday the 18th and on Thursday evening, gave a talk and tour of the exhibition for students of The New School and select collectors. 


Ansel discussing her work, ‘Large study I for Damascus’, 19th October 2017

Ansel discussing her work, ‘Light in August’, 19th October 2017




‘Amber and Ebony’ is on until the 4th of November. Please do get in touch for a hard copy catalogue or prices. 



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