James Barron Art is pleased to announce an exhibition of works by Ellen Cantor. A feminist multimedia artist and curator, Ellen Cantor’s work began to garner critical acclaim in the early 1990’s. As part of a generation of young
feminist artists interested in female representation, Cantor explored the relationship between fiction and life,
good and evil, and the role of the female protagonist. She worked in various media, including painting, drawing,
sculpture and film. Throughout her career, Cantor continued to question appropriation and representation of
the female protagonist, both in popular culture and in her own life.
Alongside artists such as Carolee Schneemann, Louise Bourgeois, Carol Rama, and Nicole Eisenman, Cantor
challenged female representation; in her work, Cantor explored the fairy tales and Disney movies that were the
subject of her childhood fascination. Rather than an outright rejection of the shallow portrayal of the female
protagonist in these stories, Cantor instead created a narrative in which these figures were multi-faceted
women, empowered by their sexuality. She used objects including bells and smashed cans to underscore
appropriation and content as a form of empowerment. Cantor’s work sometimes drew controversy, and
occasionally censorship, as she employed explicit imagery to emphasize the depth of her female characters.
As curator of the landmark 1993 exhibition, Coming to Power: 25 Years of Sexually X-plicit Art by Women, Cantor highlighted a dialogue between the female artists of the 60’s and 70’s who boldly incorporated explicit imagery in their work, including Louise Bourgeois, Lynda Benglis, and Alice Neel, and the younger generation of female artists, such as Cindy Sherman, Nan Goldin, and Marilyn Minter, who, like Cantor, continued to develop this concept.
Recently, there has been a tremendous resurgence in interest in Cantor’s art. In 2016, three years after her death at age 51, Cantor’s work was part of a multi-venue exhibition spearheaded by Lia Gangitano, founder of Participant Inc. Cantor’s film, paintings, drawings and sculpture were shown at Participant, Inc., 80WSE, Foxy Productions, and Maccarone, culminating in the premiere of her film Pinochet Porn at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Two Edens focuses on displaying a range of Cantor’s paintings, sculptures and drawings made from 1985 through 2013, which is the year of her passing. The paintings, drawings, and sculptures in this exhibition displays the thoughtfulness of process, content and visual stimulation known in Cantor’s work. James Barron Art is proud to continue this exploration of Ellen Cantor’s oeuvre in our Kent gallery.
We are thrilled to welcome Barry Schwabsky for a gallery talk about Ellen Cantor’s work on September 9, 2017.
Schwabsky is art critic for The Nation and co-editor of international reviews for Artforum. He has published
several volumes of art criticism, essays, and poetry, and has taught at Yale University, Pratt Institute, School of
Visual Arts, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and various other institutions.
“We are honored to show Ellen Cantor’s work at the gallery. With time, her work appears more pertinent and
vibrant than ever, and we are pleased that it continues to inform a new generation,” says James Barron.
Born in Detroit, Michigan, Ellen Cantor lived and worked in London and New York. She exhibited internationally, with solo exhibitions and screenings including Ellen Cantor at Künstlerhaus Stuttgart and Cinderella Syndrome at CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art, San Francisco curated by Jamie Stevens and Fatima Hellberg, 2015–16; The Dictator & the Maid, The Black Mariah, Cork, Ireland, curated by Dallas Seitz & The Black Mariah, 2014; Séance de projection de films, La GAD, Gallerie Arnaud Deschin, Marseille, 2011; Serpentine Cinema: Film in Progress, Serpentine Gate Cinema, curated by Nicola Lees/Victoria Brooks, London, 2009; Subversive Cinema: Ellen Cantor, curated by Lux, Zoo art fair, London, 2009; Within a Budding Grove, Participant Inc, New York, 2008; White Cubicle, London, 2008; Abbt Projects, Zurich, 2007; Path of Sun – Road of Life, 1000000mph, London, 2006; Ellen Cantor Cerith Wyn Evans, Prince Charles Cinema, London, 2005; Sketch, London, 2005; Kunsthalle Wien, 2002; Video Drawing 1996-2001, Kunstbunker, Nuremberg, 2001; Transmission Gallery, Glasgow, 2000; Be My Baby, Delfina, London, 1999; XL Xavier LaBoulbenne, New York, 1998 and 1996; Feigen, Chicago, 1997; Cabinet, London, 1996; and Postmasters, New York, 1995.
We would like to express our gratitude to Lia Gangitano, Participant, Inc., and Mark Cantor of the Ellen Cantor Estate, for their efforts in helping us realize this exhibition.