Betsey Hansell trained as a painter at Wayne State University in Detroit, where she earned an MFA. She taught there briefly, reviewed art, and showed work at local galleries and museums including two one-person shows and many group exhibitions. She also illustrated a book of poetry by Joyce Carol Oates.
She worked as a staff reporter at the Detroit Free Press in the 1980s, moved to Philadelphia, and learned photography, which she practices full-time in Yardley, PA, a Philadelphia suburb.
Using Barbie and Ken dolls and other thrift shop finds, I create tableaux that lack common logic but offer an emotional kick. My first doll images were playful and funny, but as the world becomes crazier and scarier my work is darkening. Current photographs include the Furies, Greek goddesses of revenge who hunt down liars and murderers; bound and masked male dolls representing men who want to control women’s bodies and nude young females with red X marks on their vaginas representing both victims and strong women saying “keep out!”
Masked identities, real versus fake, the nature of truth, anger and outrage, the possibility of retribution, the heightened, dramatic confusion we face as we try to make our way forward are all subjects my work aims to address.