Ellen Cantor: Two Edens
Opening reception: Saturday, September 9 from 3 - 6 PM
On view through November 12, 2017.

Read the full interview from our opening reception with Barry Schwabsky and James Barron on Brooklyn Rail. 

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 all types of 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 fairy tales, Disney movies, dolls, and Hollywood culture. Rather than outright rejecting 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. 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 at Maccarone, 80WSE, Foxy Productions and Participant Inc., culminating in the premiere of her film Pinochet Porn at the Museum of Modern Art. 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 work in this exhibition displays the thoughtfulness of process, content and visual stimulation that is recognizable of Cantor’s work. James Barron Art is proud to continue this exploration of Ellen Cantor’s oeuvre in our Kent gallery.


All artworks © Courtesy of the Estate of Ellen Cantor