Mary Jane Ansell

With her penchant for intriguing narratives and capturing a limited but dramatic moment, Ansell's work draws from a variety of inspirations. Her sitters become characters imbued with a narrative that Ansell says evolves as she works with them.
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Mary Jane Ansell was a finalist for the prestigious BP Portrait Award in 2004, 2009, 2010, and 2012, and has been selected multiple times for the Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition and the Threadneedle Prize. The UK-based artist exhibits internationally, most recently in group and solo exhibitions in London, New York, Singapore and LA.

Her work is held in private and public collections around the world, including commissions for the permanent collections of the National Portrait Gallery UK, Brighton and Hove Museum and the Joe Lewis Collection. Ansell was named one of the "Top 100 Figurative Painters Working Right Now" by Buzz Feed in 2017, and her work has appeared on the covers of numerous magazines, including American Art Collector and a number of recent novels, including Gilly Salt Sisters by New York Times bestselling author Tiffany Baker and on the recently released album by Adam Ant: Adam Ant is the blue and black hussar in Marrying The Gunners Daughter.

Her sitters become characters imbued with a narrative that Ansell says evolves as she works with them, sometimes autobiographically, incorporating memories from childhood or their response to today's complex political and gender issues. She also draws on the language of classical portraiture and the world of haute couture, appreciating a refined technique that evokes the past but with a decidedly modern point of view.

After living in Brighton by the sea for 25 years, she and her partner of 29 years, Richard, a musician, recently moved to the dramatic landscape and remoteness of the Welsh border region near Snowdonia. An area rich in ancient legends and inspiration.