Friday, March 22, 2013

Photo Friday: Ellen Cantor

Ellen Cantor was born in Chicago, and lives in Southern California. Her work has been exhibited at the Platt/Borstein Gallery at American Jewish University in Los Angeles, in L’aura borealis at the Palos Verdes Art Center, Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital Art Ability Exhibition in Malvern, PA, C.A.R. Network, The Innovative Art Fair in Seoul, Korea, WUHO Gallery and the Los Angeles Art Association/Gallery 825.

View more of her work here  

Unorthodox Anatomy Statement 

Approximately two years ago, I descended into spinal purgatory, unable to walk or stand for very long. Suffering with unrelenting leg and hip pain, I tried exercise, meditation, physical therapy and acupuncture. Having been diagnosed with scoliosis, spondylolisthesis and stenosis, I started to visualize the anatomy of my lumbar spine and what it meant to be out of alignment. I imagined the spine’s complex network of bones, muscles, nerves and discs and how they could be causing me so much discomfort.

Using sculpture and photography as a means of expressing my pain, I created artworks that reflect my desire to understand what was happening to my vertebrae and how surgery might change the structure of my spine.

This series of photographs, from sculptures I have created, focuses on my perception of pain and the spine and how pain can impact mortality and my perception of aging. Based on my medical diagnoses, I perceived my body and my vertebrae as both organic and inorganic materials with the spine out of shape, constricted, disintegrating or collapsing.

As my daily options became diminished, I began to feel constricted. Navigating the world with new restrictions, I needed to deal with multiple medications, wired instruments to control pain and the need for a constant supply of batteries to keep the machines working. With my activities restricted, I started to see myself confined to a narrower world. Filling the cage with my necessities, became a way of visualizing how I was feeling.

Through allusion and metaphor, I am addressing images of pain sensations and options for living. For this series, I have created a visualization of what my spine looks like to me--not the real spine, but an unorthodox view of my anatomy. These photographs convey my feelings of living with a disability, the pain of aging and daily confrontation with my mortality.

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