Emilia Cantor

Venezuela, b.1979

Lives and works in San José, Costa Rica

Emilia Cantor explores alternative worlds as she challenges the viewer’s preconceived ideas of reality with an innovative approach to colour and classical tools. Her surrealist canvases are transformed into symphonies of colour that feature vast areas of emotionally charged contrasts, often with pastel and vibrant colours juxtaposing against stark black and greys, creating visually striking harmonies that evoke a sense of otherworldliness. Shrouded in ambiguity and infused with rich mythological forms, Cantor's paintings convey a distinctive narrative style. The viewer must engage in an emotional puzzle to decipher the artist’s intention, leaving us in a state of curiosity.

Cantor received formal training at the Florence Academy of Art in 2003 where she honed traditional skills and techniques, which she now blends with a modernist colourful sensibility, creating a fusion of contemporary and classical art.

Dedicated to formal art training and valuing traditional methods, Cantor founded the Atelier del Sol in San José in 2012, which stands as Costa Rica’s first and only institution of its kind, underlining her commitment to preserving and promoting classical artistic techniques. Quoting Picasso, Cantor echoed the sentiment that “you must learn the rules to be able to break them”.

Portrait of Emilia Cantor in her studio. New Paintings for sale by Emilia Cantor.

Emilia Cantor in her studio, 2024 (Photography by Julio Sequeira)

"There is nothing more personal than being oneiric; one of the most important characteristics of work." Cantor, 2023