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Jill Ansell - Pericles Just Scratching the Surface - 2024 - Full Image.jpg

'Pericles: just scratching the surface' Archibald Prize Finalist 2024




“I am a Western Australian figurative artist and work across a wide range of subjects from desert landscapes to portraits. I often take inspiration from inland Western Australia and West Australian stories, people and history. I like to suggest a narrative in my work.


I love sketching the initial idea and then seeing it completed in paint. When I am painting I am immersed in the scene I am creating. I don’t think of the things I put in the painting as shapes, but as real things. It is like an extreme form of daydreaming where I get to place the characters and scenery as I choose. There is often a narrative element to my painting and I am in the story while I am painting it.

Usually, I get an idea for a painting, sketch it before I can forget it, and then collect supporting material for the idea (photos, sketches objects, etc.). I then work up a composition I am happy with and loosely sketch it up on the canvas. Sometimes I will diverge from the original vision as another idea seems better, but most often the work is close to the original sketch. For portraits, I want to capture something that expresses something intrinsic to the subject. I often work in assemblage and enjoy combining portraits with objects in a unified composition.


My work often explores themes of loneliness, isolation, and perseverance. Occasionally I will create a work as a social comment. I also like to capture that perfect happy still moment – this is typical of my dog beach paintings. I paint a wide variety of subject matter as so many things are interesting.

"Jill explores West Australian life and history and enjoys combining the real and the imagined to allow a narrative to unfurl.


Stories are often conjured from found objects and paintings are peopled by the odd and obscure. Her work engages the viewer with humour and warm humanity."





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Jill Ansell autoportrait

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