Still Life: Mary Jane Ansell

Do you ever wonder what it might be like to be the subject of a painting? Would you be content to let the artist interpret you as you are or would you try to clothe yourself in your own chosen persona? The subjects in the paintings of UK artist Mary Jane Ansell seem to be playing dress-up, yet we are left to wonder, is this who they are or who they wish to be?


Girl in a Cocked Hat II, oil on panel, 19.8x 19.8



Girl in a Naval Cap, oil on panel, 10.6×14.1

In these quiet paintings, we are offered a glimpse into a moment, a fleeting feeling, a pause in the life of the subject, the life of the artist and one of our own.


Anima Animus, oil on panel, 48×60


The Loved One, oil on panel, 99×99 cm


Girl Reflected, oil on board, 42×30 cm

They are quiet, contemplative portrayals, yet within each is a sense of anticipation. The stillness and peace that comes just before we discover something amazing. Perhaps it might be within ourselves that we find the revelation.


To see more of Mary Jane Ansell’s work, please visit her website.

All images are via the artist’s representing gallery, Fairfax Contemporary.

Article by Lesly Frenz of …

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Pretending Portals: Noemie Goudal

Growing up in the 70′s in a working class family, much of the time we used what we had and lots of imagination in our daily play. My brother & I would regularly create “cars” out of cardboard boxes and I distinctly remember creating an entire make-believe floor plan out of fallen leaves. The work of London based photographer Noemie Goudal reminds me of how easily our imaginations are transported as children.


Passage, color photograph, 111×140 cm

Goudal’s work recalls the magic of blanket forts and tin can telephones. Taking us back to a time when just a shape or a line sparks our senses to conduct us into a new fantasy world filled with possibility.


Les Amants ( Cascade ), color photograph, 168×208 cm


Les Amants ( Jetee ), color photograph, 168×190 cm

The artist uses simple props and imagery to create imaginative installations that seem to capture portals into a completely different world, a world that seems to leak out, blending the imagined with reality in the same magical way we did as children.


Flood, color photograph, 111×140 cm

 To see more of Noemie Goudal’s work, please visit her website. How did your imagination shape your own childhood play?

Make sure you check out more of Lesley Frenz’s art finds over at

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Abject Extraction: Jen Garrido

For many artists, the act of creation isn’t just about projecting an image onto a canvas.  Artists like Jen Garrido understand that often, it’s more about pulling a hidden entity out of the mist.


Garrido’s images straddle the line between abstraction and representation, which creates a beautiful tension in her work.  With their stark and white, yet heavily textured backgrounds, the colors and lines feel like the emergence of spring after a long winter.



The way she molds shapes and textures together leave her paintings with a sculptural quality, bringing them to life in a way that makes them seem almost alive.


To see more of Jen Garrido’s work, be sure to check out her website.

Artist found via Anthropologie.  All images are via the artist’s website.

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Carved Into Memory: Diem Chau

Storytelling Crayons, installation view, carved crayons and wood base

For most of us, Crayola crayons were our very first artistic tools. Whether it was those thick, fat ones perfect for uncoordinated, chubby little hands to grip or the de-luxe 64 pack with the built-in sharpener, those colorful little sticks were our first glimpse into the world of artistic expression. Seattle based artist Diem Chau takes those original tools, carving them into tiny figures reminding us of how they shaped our own young imaginations. Storytelling Crayons, installation view, carved crayons and wood base That distinctive scent, the waxy texture, peeling the paper down so that more of the brilliant color could sweep across the paper.


Girl and Dog, carved crayon and wood base, 3×3.5×2
Yellow Girl, carved crayon and wood base, 3×3.5×3

My most distinct memory of Crayolas happened on a summer road trip with my grandparents. A long trip in the car, of course, meant bringing along plenty to keep us busy. For me, that meant books, crayons and paper. My crayons ended up strewn all over the back deck of my grandparents’ green Impala and were promptly forgotten about when we stopped for a bit. We came back to a colorful mess! I don’t think my Mimi & Papa were ever able to completely clean the wax out of the upholstery. Oopsie!

Boy and Girl, carved crayon and wood base, 3×3.5×3

What memories do Chau’s crayons bring back for you? Please visit her website to see more of her work. She’ll be showing at the Elvistravaganza during Bumbershoot in Seattle or if you’re on the other coast, you can see her carving crayons LIVE at Saks 5th Ave on Sept. 6th from 6pm-10pm.

All images are via the artist’s website.

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Article by, Lesley Frenz of Artsy Forager.