Contradicting Beauty

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Last Wednesday a group of thirty attendees had the pleasure of hearing Mira Cantor talk about her current show at Kingston Gallery, Meltwater. She began by stating that there are two things which are certain: death and the weather. She then discussed the ideas she ponders in regards to her practice, many of which are contradictory, but all equally embodied in the paintings.  Although she feels she is addressing a crisis in nature, a clear affinity for the materials at hand was apparent.

She has a love of landscape and a terror of that landscape. The work is about the water rising, but they are also beautiful images, making them unsettling, ambiguous. They are visual descriptions of mountains, but instead of offering the viewer a sense of looking outward, they are claustrophobic and disorienting. They are about the majesty and the demise of the mountains simultaneously. They alert us to issues of climate change, but with no solution or morality. Instead of being a clear representation, Cantor tries instead to express the essence of her experience. There is an economy of color and form as well as an importance of the surfaces; she uses a range of viscosities – allowing the forms to undo themselves.

Cantor derives her imagery from a specific locale, but she strives for something more universal; the paintings are an abstraction of that place.  Clearly, the influence of some of the artists she grew up with, Willem DeKooning and Marsden Hartley, makes itself apparent in this body of work, and like them, in the end, the work is all about the paint.

Image: Mira Cantor, Spector, oil on canvas, 40 x 32″, 2013

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