Since her last solo exhibition at Cadogan Contemporary in 2015, Elise Ansel has continued her practice of interpreting Old Master paintings through the prism of contemporary practice to increasing critical success. Ansel uses gestural abstraction to translate historical art into a contemporary pictorial language. The formal and visual elements almost eclipse the representational content of the paintings.
‘AMBER AND EBONY’ features the debut of an eponymous series of limited palette monochrome paintings, as well as the introduction of black and white photography as a source. The monochromes represent a further step in Ansel’s chain of transcription. Their introduction into her oeuvre coincides with the opening of ‘Monochrome: Painting in Black and White’ at the National Gallery, London.
In the catalogue essay, author Stephanie Buhmann discusses Ansel’s engagement with colour, method and structure. “Color takes on the role of protagonist while creating a profound link between Ansel’s paintings and the historical works from which they spring. Her palette, which favors deep saturated hues, not only establishes a sense of mood, but also succeeds in weaving together disparate conceptual and compositional elements. ... Ansel remains an experimental painter at heart, whose keen interest in photography and its ongoing dialogue with the medium of painting has encouraged her to explore her subjects over time and from different perspectives while playing with various concepts of scale. ... Though her process is comprehensive and involves multiple steps, Ansel appears to approach space as a flexible sphere rather than a crisply delineated concept. It is within these vibrant parameters that her language unfolds and interlocks with her expressive vocabulary, establishing a web of dense information.”