Elise Ansel: Palimpsest

4 Feb 2015 – 28 Feb 2015

Regular hours

11:30 – 18:00
11:30 – 18:00
11:30 – 18:00
11:30 – 18:00
11:30 – 18:00

Phoenix Gallery

New York
New York, United States


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I make paintings that are derived from Renaissance and Baroque depictions of bacchanals and figures in the landscape. My work is about reclaiming, re-visioning and re-presenting paintings that were created at a time when women were seen as objects rather than primary participants in the creative dialog. The paintings I work from are distant mirrors which I interpret through the lens of gestural abstraction. I use painterly notation and shorthand to translate historical paintings into a contemporary pictorial language. I use paint as a vehicle for feeling or sensation rather than as a means of illustration. My method is inspired by Cézanne’s idea of “la petite sensation,” of using each brush stroke to communicate a sensation that is simultaneously optical and emotional. My paintings begin with a specific pictorial point of departure but then move towards abstraction as the representational content is balanced by focus upon color, composition and the materiality of the paint. Linear, rational readings are interrupted and replaced with a capacious awareness of the sensuous possibilities of paint. The historical paintings I work from become structures on which to hang paint; the soundness of these structures capacitates great improvisational freedom. The real subject becomes the substance and surface of oil paint, the variety of its applications, and the ways in which it can be used to celebrate life.


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