Victoria Cantons London, United Kingdom
Victoria Cantons is known primarily for painting and recently graduated (2014-17) BA Fine Art at University of the Arts London (Wimbledon) and is currently enrolled in the Turps Studio Programme. Cantons’ work explores the subjectivity of human experience of time and the objective world. The work can be read as figurative with symbolic and metaphorical references.
Victoria Cantons’ work has grown out of what Francis Bacon called "A tightrope walk between figurative painting and abstraction." A studio routine is embedded in her practice, which uses writing, photography and drawing to inform painting, video'd performance and sound work.
The work explores the subjectivity of human experience of time and the objective world. Cantons uses photography, writing, drawing, painting and performance to question the solidness of the human psychological landscape. In this way She hopes to make art that can be a springboard to exploring and discussing deeper truths about the individual -it's about creating work that acts as a mirror for the audience not to see the artist but to see themselves.
Whilst photography looks outward Victoria considers her sketchbook as research or kind of a depository of everything. It is an accumulation of information that gets distilled into ideas for paintings -- fragments of conversations, thoughtful musings, things she is reading, news media, visual notes, peripheral glimpses, etc. Ideas might start with a sort of word play or association -- a poem, a phrase or quirky grouping of words that, out of context, have a new meaning or evoke a memory or experience. Overriding the ideas are the big questions that she has become concerned with: "Who am I? What am I?" and "Who are we?" Cantons is interested in the relationships we have with ourselves and others, themes of social alienation, isolation, malaise and vulnerability. The works often explore an overall atmosphere of melancholy. She views her work as a personal response to the present moment. In what Cantons feels is an age of increasing cynicism and growing apathy she says “Art can wrestle with some of the most basic and at the same time most complex problems: love, fear, despair, desire, hunger, emotional poverty and depravity through metaphor and symbolic language, new fairytales and folklore."
Victoria previously looked to a diverse body of work which has included Western Art Hybridisation particularly the European Renaissance of the 14th–17th centuries, Dutch Golden Age still life painting, twentieth century Abstract-Expressionism and German and American Neo–Expressionist painting. The range of references are highly eclectic, from Goya and Velázquez to Picasso, Robert Motherwell and Pop. The work of Marina Abramović and Francis Bacon also interest her as well as the photographs of Nan Goldin and Saul Leiter. European and American cinema also inform the practice.
Cantons says she wishes to use art as a "Search for that something unseen and untouchable, for the strands of lace —the symbols, the motifs, the repetitions— that explore meditations on the value of human life."