Cadogan Contemporary presents 'yes I said Yes', a solo exhibition of new paitings by acclaimed American artist Elise Ansel
Central to Ansel’s project is her practice of translating Old Master paintings into a contemporary pictorial language through the lens of feminine subjectivity. She uses an idiom of energetic gestural abstraction to mine art historical imagery for colour and narrative structure, abstracting and interrupting the representational content, in order to excavate and transform meanings and messages embedded in the works from which her paintings spring.
Comprised of over fifteen paintings, the exhibition includes responses to masterpieces such as Titian’s Rape of Europa (1560-62). Ansel transforms scenes of violence against women into images of consensual pleasure.
“Painters of that era used mythological content to explore eroticism,” Ansel says. “My attack is on sexism, not on sex. My intent is to reclaim the erotic energy and discard the violent coercion. In Titian’s painting, the strength of the male aggressor is re-enforced by the agency of the male painter. I reverse the polarity.
“The heretofore silent object (of the male gaze) is granted agency and becomes the subject, the author of the narrative, which she has the power to change.”