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Upon Closer Inspection

at The New York Transit Museum - 30th Anniversary Exhibition

The Art of Laura Cantor

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The New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn Heights, celebrating its 30th Anniversary, is currently presenting a fine-art exhibition entitled, "Upon Closer Inspection: The Art of Laura Cantor."

Showcasing the work of a single artist, this exhibit presents 30 original works of art on paper using pastels, charcoal, oil and linoleum block prints.

The artist transforms ordinary nuts, bolts, and subway car components into a symphony of abstract shapes bursting with color.


Upon Closer Inspection: The Art of Laura Cantor - December 13 - extended through August 27. New York Transit Museum, Brooklyn Heights

Semi-abstract, close up depictions of machinery parts and other components of subway cars not normally visible to the public are intriguingly illustrated by the artist in Upon Closer Inspection: The Art of Laura Cantor, an exhibition of 30 pastel and charcoal drawings, oil paintings and linoleum block prints, at the New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn Heights.

Subway Under Carriage
Subway Car Under Carriage
by Laura Cantor


On display from December 13, 2005, through August 27, 2006, the exhibit also includes a series of portraits of some of the people who work behind the scenes to maintain one of the largest fleets of subway cars in the world.

Artist Laura Cantor has worked as a New York City Transit Subway Car Inspector for the past 23 years.

At work, where others see nuts, bolts and steel parts, she sees beauty in the mechanical symmetry of the undercarriages, stripping away the grit and grime of these components and changing them into artistically abstracted details with a beauty all their own.

Says Laura jokingly, "Maybe I was staring at the subway parts for too long, but I saw something in the glint of the light refracting off of the undercarriage of subway cars.

What, upon first glance, was an indefinable shape covered in grease and steel dust, was transformed into a symphony of abstract shapes, and subtle tones on paper and canvas. Shades of gray began to burst with color, transforming their appearances to reveal an interpretive picture of subway cars from a visual perspective not usually seen by the general public."

"As the images of her workplace find their way to paper, the grimy gray tones of the oil and steel dust coating the machinery are transformed to a more luminous palette.

Mechanical systems are shown accurately, but are seen as disengaged fragments creating enigmatic compositions.

While recognizable as machinery, the drawings seem to be abstract industrial landscapes," said Rob Del Bagno, New York Transit Museum Exhibitions Manager.

Portraits of Ms. Cantor's co-workers inspecting, repairing and cleaning the subway's rolling stock are also included in the exhibition.

Rendered in a painterly style, these portraits maintain a sense of realism that neither glamorizes nor trivializes the tasks. In one print, a man cleans the interior of a car. An oil painting depicts a worker operating a forklift.

These vignettes acknowledge without romanticism, the labor involved in keeping the subway running. The end result is not so much about trains and workers, but how the artist captures a moment, finding beauty and amusement in her everyday life.

Bombardier Assembly
Bombardier 142A Assembly

Magnetic Latch
Magnetic Latch


For additional information about Museum tours, special events and programs, children's workshops, and other exhibits, please log onto www.mta.info/museum or call 718 694-1600

On View:
The New York Transit Museum
130 Livingston Street
Brooklyn Heights, NY 11201


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