Using art history as her blueprint, Elise Ansel explores the formal properties of gesture and color by re-creating famous paintings by Old Masters and impressionists. Ansel looks toward some of the most iconic paintings in the Western world, such as those by Caravaggio and Goya, re-creating the originals’ color relationships while smudging their representational properties. In this way, she approaches abstraction through sly and deliberate means. “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,” she has said.