In the more than 150 years since J.M.W. Turner’s death, abstraction has been studied, redacted, reviled, and reborn as an exhaustive condition of Modernism. With abandon and remarkable vision, American post-war artists pursued the almost infinite possibilities of abstraction. Beginning with abstract expressionism in the mid-forties, America’s position as the center of the art world remained virtually unchallenged until the latter part of the 20th C and the emergence of contemporary art as a dynamic international pursuit. But within the context of broadly based invention and aesthetic freedom, abstract expressionism continues to thrive as a source of visual and emotional discovery. In that sense, Elise Ansel has become a descendant of two generations of Abstract Expressionism; America’s aesthetic golden moment.
Ansel converts historical masterpieces: the early and high Italian and Northern Renaissance, the Baroque, Neoclassicism, French, German and English Romanticism, transforming the visual language of art historical achievement into a fresh iteration of Abstract Expressionist sensibility. Her physically charged paintings, at once forceful and lyrical, recapture the spontaneity of Franz Kline, the vivid palette of de Kooning and Richter, the intense often disquieting visual poetry of Joan Mitchell and Frank Auerbach.