Elise Ansel (b. 1961, New York City) translates Old Master paintings into a contemporary pictorial language. She mines art historical imagery for color and narrative structure. Her paintings use the Old Masters as points of departure. They move into abstraction by transforming the representational content, which is obfuscated if not entirely eclipsed, by her focus on color, gesture and the materiality of paint. She interrupts linear, rational readings so that the real subject becomes the substance and surface of oil paint, the range of its applications, and the ways in which it can be used to celebrate life.


Her work deconstructs pictorial language and 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 that embraces multiple points of view.