In a fast-paced world which allows little time for contemplation, Caren Canier demands that the viewer slow down to consider images that challenge an understanding of traditional narrative. The walls of houses disappear to reveal inhabitants lost in conversation. Fragments of antiquity litter the landscape. Twentieth-century figures leap over planets in space. It is as though we have been·asked to view half-remembered dreams to explain the concerns of modern life.
--Katherine French (School of Visual Arts, Boston)
Caren Canier's footloose but tidy appropriations bring an immediate appeal to her mixed-media works of painted an collaged images. Two larger pieces, featuring dense assemblies of people, smiling blearily at us from parade gatherings or beach outings, peak of wholesome, down-home pleasures. Other pieces describe rather weird and exotic assemblages of historical flotsam; in "Ulysses," a dapper man with a straw boater appears again and again, striding amongst Phoenician boats, Hellenistic sculpture, and an immense ancient Greek bowl. And still other works are simply weird: roomfulls of counterposed, tapering figures borrowed from Elie Nadelman, which commit to paint what the sculptor modeled only in materials like bronze or wood. A Surrealism-tinged nostalgia animates all such scenes, charged, it seems, equally by the artist's affection and her sardonic wit; her inventions pile up as fast as brushstroke--or collaged material--can muster....How might medieval minstrels or de Chirico figures share worlds with Muybridge's photographs? Perfectly naturally, it turns out, in Canier's peculiar images.
--John Goodrich, City Arts, New York's Review of Culture (September 14, 2010)
Canier has set herself a juggling act, balancing hieratic classical references against her own more personal themes. An evident love of pattern and surface design over-rides anything approaching realist space. Yet she seems constrained by the expected homages to deep space, tonality, and all the other feints by which realists signal to and recognize each other....While her imagery remains tethered to representation, her working preferences are more idiosyncratic, ebullient and whimsical than the rhetoric of representation permits.
--Maureen Mallarkey, Studio Matters, December 2003