Elise Ansel: yes I Said Yes
at Cadogan Contemporary
As arguably the biggest week in the London art-world calendar sets in, there is a striking exhibition on display at Cadogan Contemporary in which the acclaimed American artist Elise Ansel reclaims female identity from the old master paintings.
Entitled yes I said Yes, this major solo exhibition of new paintings acts not as a critique of the old masters, but rather a use of their depth and resonance to shine a light on disparities existent today; translating them into a contemporary pictorial language through the lens of feminine subjectivity.
Comprised of over fifteen paintings, the exhibition includes responses to masterpieces by artists such as Titian, Rubens and Delacroix transforming scenes of violence against women into images of consensual pleasure.
At face value, Ansel’s work is not overtly political or feminist but by applying her contemporary female perspective to centuries-old male works of art, Ansel addresses art history’s hegemonic, and often misogynistic, narrative, as well as the continued gender inequality in our society.
It is the balance between social statement and painterly process that gives Ansel’s work its compelling combination of depth and accessibility. Her political message may be strong, but it never overshadows the sheer beauty of her paintings, which act as a dialogue not only between artist and viewer, but also artist and artist.