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b. 1979, USA

Sarah Cain Biography

Sarah Cain is a Los Angeles-based artist known for her abstract paintings and installations. Incorporating diverse materials such as fabric, sand, feathers, jewellery, crystals and ribbons, the bold graphic patterns and dynamic shapes in her work often resemble urban graffiti or the flashy textiles of a bygone era, while their neon-sunny, candy-like palettes conjure comparisons to her adopted California home.

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To Cain, space is both physical and psychic; her practice is characterised by her moving beyond the canvas and extending her work to unconventional surfaces such as walls, floors and furniture. In her words, she is concerned with 'making work that is actively engaged with furthering and challenging what painting can be.' Early projects saw Cain painting on abandoned buildings in her native upstate New York; in 2002, she painted floorboards of an abandoned New York hotel in shades of red, and similarly in 2004, she completed an installation in a San Francisco squat. Such site-specific works have become central to her practice, a development Cain attributes to an early unease with making stand-alone objects. For her, working on-site was an attempt to eliminate control; as she says, 'by embracing the ephemeral, I had to think and act in the present tense.' For her major solo exhibition Dark Matter at Galerie Lelong (8 September–15 October 2016), Cain created a 3000-square-foot site-specific work that viewers could walk on while they viewed other works hung on the walls, bending the boundaries between painting and installation.

In 2011, Cain ccompleted a major site-specific work in a former Masonic lodge in Marfa, Texas, for Los Angeles Nomadic Division (LAND). Titled Forget me not, the installation spread across the first floor of the building and explored the imagery of the forgot-me-not flower, used by Masons and later by Nazis. Exploring belief systems, doubt and faith, the paintings spread across the building's walls and floors. One large painting even incorporated an overturned cupboard into its composition. Such recycling and inclusion of domestic furniture has become a mainstay of Cain's practice; couches, chairs and benches figure large in her recent works. In 2015, she painted in red splatters a seat that her neighbour abandoned after his wedding was called off, calling it love seat.

On view between September 2017 and March 2018, Cain presented a 40-foot-long, vivid patch-work painting installation at the courtyard entrance of the new Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Titled Now I'm going to tell you everything, the work was named after a poem written for the artist by Bernadette Mayer. Cain has also held solo exhibitions at the Contemporary Art Museum Raleigh, North Carolina, and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, California, and has been included in several museum group exhibitions and solo gallery exhibitions including Wild Flower at Timothy Taylor, London (18 April–2 June 2018).

Cain ran away from her rural home in upstate New York at 15 and studied painting in Paris, before transferring to San Francisco Art Institute and University of California, Berkeley, where she didn't study painting but kept it as her 'secret project'. In 1997, Cain moved to California, where she now lives and works in a home-studio. Cain paints every day, maintaining an astute sensitivity to colour and an openness to process. As she says, 'I believe in the painting showing me more than me telling the painting what to be.'

Elliat Albrecht | Ocula | 2018

Sarah Cain Featured Artworks

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Emotions by Sarah Cain contemporary artwork
Sarah CainEmotions, 2018Acrylic and chains on canvas
182.9 x 152.4 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York Contact Gallery
waves by Sarah Cain contemporary artwork
Sarah Cainwaves, 2016Acrylic and beads on canvas
152.4 x 121.9 cm
Lehmann Maupin Contact Gallery
lock down by Sarah Cain contemporary artwork
Sarah Cainlock down, 2018Acrylic, bike lock, and beads on canvas
156.2 x 127 x 10.2 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York Contact Gallery
free fall by Sarah Cain contemporary artwork
Sarah Cainfree fall, 2018Acrylic and gel medium on canvas
152.4 x 121.9 x 8.9 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York Contact Gallery
Wild Flower by Sarah Cain contemporary artwork
Sarah CainWild Flower, 2018Acrylic and oil pastel on canvas
152.4 x 121.9 cm
Timothy Taylor Enquire
Black Widow by Sarah Cain contemporary artwork
Sarah CainBlack Widow, 2018Acrylic, beads, gouache and prism on canvas
228.6 x 152.4 cm
Timothy Taylor Enquire
And the night never ended by Sarah Cain contemporary artwork
Sarah CainAnd the night never ended, 2018Acrylic, beads, gold and silver leaf and bells on canvas
182.9 x 152.4 cm
Timothy Taylor Enquire
sky and sea by Sarah Cain contemporary artwork
Sarah Cainsky and sea, 2017Acrylic, beads, mirror and nylon thread on canvas
90 x 60 inches
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York Contact Gallery

Sarah Cain Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, RED at Galerie Lelong & Co. New York, New York
Closed
10 April–8 May 2020 Group Exhibition RED Galerie Lelong & Co. New YorkOnline Only
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, cart, horse, cart at Lehmann Maupin, New York
Closed
20 June–17 August 2019 Group Exhibition cart, horse, cart Lehmann Maupin536 West 22nd Street, New York
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, cart, horse, cart at Lehmann Maupin, New York
Closed
20 June–17 August 2019 Group Exhibition cart, horse, cart Lehmann Maupin501 West 24th Street, New York

Sarah Cain Represented By

Sarah Cain In Related Press

Sarah Cain at Honor Fraser Related Press Sarah Cain at Honor Fraser 1 April 2019, Art in America

In Sarah Cain's exhibition The Sun Will Not Wait, hypnotic candy-colored abstractions appeared in multiple guises. Thirteen mostly large-scale paintings on canvas featuring gestural marks, geometric shapes, and various objects—beads, photographs, small trinkets—hung on the walls.

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The ones to watch at the first ever Frieze Los Angeles Related Press The ones to watch at the first ever Frieze Los Angeles 13 February 2019, Tatler

February in LA has long been a permanent fixture in the calendars of the world's elite, who use awards season as a welcome excuse to escape the dreary drizzle in Europe and the biting cold on the East Coast. But now there's a new reason to be in Tinseltown this month: the launch of the first ever Frieze Los Angeles.

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An alternative history of abstract art Related Press An alternative history of abstract art 25 May 2018, Apollo Magazine

Surface Work, a survey show of women abstract artists across Victoria Miro’s Mayfair and Wharf Road galleries, reveals an alternative history of how much women have already achieved. From the examples of the more than 50 artists in this show–some relatively unknown and others household names–it is obvious that women approached abstraction with...

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Surface Work review – women abstract artists dazzle in historic show Related Press Surface Work review – women abstract artists dazzle in historic show 15 April 2018, The Guardian

There are certain shows that change one's sense of art. Surface Work is one of them. Spread across two sites, it is nothing less than an anthology of abstract painting spanning an entire century, from early constructivism to post-digital sampling, in which every work holds its own and every work is by a woman. This is a rare and historic event....

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