Mira Cantor’s Promiseland is an installation of sculptures and drawings built as a metaphor for hope on view from October 31st through December 2nd, with an opening reception on First Friday November 2nd, 5-8pm. On Saturday, December 1st at 2pm the gallery will host a conversation between Cantor and Pamela Allara, Professor Emeritus from Tufts University and Brandeis. Their discussion will focus on the topic of integration as a white artist creating this powerful body of work featuring people of all colors.
The collection of works in Promiseland function as a mini-retrospective for Mira Cantor. The focus of the installation is a revisited version of older work from as early as the late 1980s mixed with a more recent series entitled Flesh. Life-sized figures are suspended throughout the gallery, ranging in height from four to seven feet, constructed of recycled clothing and painted canvas that’s been sewn and stuffed. Surrounding the figures are oversized charcoal and acrylic drawings made between 1997 and 2007 that create dialogue with the sculptures through their close juxtaposition. As Cantor made each individual three-dimensional figure, many of whom look familiar, they became a troupe. Inhabiting different costumes and conveying disparate personalities, they become a group brought together by fate rather than choice. Promiseland focuses on issues Cantor first explored with her work in the 1960s and 70s, questioning how to do the right thing, how to overcome the insidious brainwashing and lack of education that compromises our judgement in a time of national crisis. Summing up the viewer’s experience of the installation are words by Pamela Allara from the exhibition catalog essay, “The figures in Promiseland urge us to think about the human condition at present and our place in it. When we stand in the gallery and ask ‘Who are these people?’ we must acknowledge that we are part of this group.”
Mira Cantor was born in New York City and graduated with an MFA from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. She established her career in painting, drawing and mixed-media sculpture when she was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT from 1978-80. She was awarded a Fulbright in 1994-95 to Alexandria, Egypt where she taught and exhibited her work at the American Center. Her solo shows include the Tokyo American Center in Japan, the BWA Gallery in Krakow, Poland, Hampshire College, De Cordova Museum, Fitchburg Art Museum, The Contemporary Arts Center, Honolulu, and Gallery Lohrl in Dusseldorf. Cantor’s work is included in the collections of the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Honolulu Academy of Arts, and the Contemporary Arts Center of Honolulu. Currently, Mira Cantor is a professor at Northeastern University where she has been teaching art for 28 years. She has been a member of the Kingston Gallery in Boston since 2013.