Discussing the Promiseland

Article and Photos by Nat Martin

On Saturday, December 1st, Mira Cantor was joined by Pamela Allara at Kingston Gallery for a lively discussion of her exhibit “Promiseland.” The conversation touched on her personal history as well as her process and influences.
PromiselandEvent_03_smCantor described Promiseland as a poem with a number of stanzas, with each stanza created by groupings of work from various periods including sculptures from the 1970’s all the way to watercolors created as recently as within the last six months.

One of Promiseland’s centerpieces was a ‘crowd’ of oversized fabric people of various ages and ethnicities. Some figures appeared to be interacting with each other while others appeared lost in their own thoughts or activities. Cantor described how she felt as though she knew each one, that each one reminds her of people she has known in her life. Gallery visitors commented on how the strange, distorted faces quickly revealed a kind of realism, humanity and warmth.
Cantor discussed her particular interest in the times in which people of different backgrounds are brought together, using the example of subway travel. Gallery visitors were encouraged to move through the sculptural installation and become part of the crowd and Cantor’s close arrangement of figures meant that as viewers moved into the crowd they were quickly face to face with these strangers. The experience was not about observing from a distance so much as it was about joining and experiencing.

In the middle gallery, a large clear box was stuffed with more of Cantor’s fabric denizens. Awkwardly packed together, the figures suggest a final, unceremonious grouping after life. Cantor discussed her disappointment in the ways in which war, nationalism and hatred continue to push people away in 2018.

Promiseland was on view at Kingston Gallery from October 31-December 2, 2018. To learn more about the exhibition click HERE.

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