“She’s tough and she’s bold and she’s not shy,” says Molly Donovan, the National Gallery of Art’s contemporary-art curator. “But her work embraces the feminine. That’s why I love it. It’s fierce.”
Sarah Cain was born in 1979 and lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. Cain received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2001 from The San Francisco Art Institute in San Francisco, CA. She then received a Masters of Fine Arts degree in 2006 from the University of California at Berkeley, CA.
Sarah Cain is a recipient of the 2020 Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant; 2011 Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant; the 2008 Durfee Grant; the 2007 Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant; and the 2006 SECA Art Award, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Sarah Cain brings rooms to life with experiments in color, composition, and non-conformity. Cain modifies canvases by cutting, sewing, and attaching found objects. She also paints floors, walls, and furniture on-site, grounding each space she occupies in the present tense. Her process of creation and destruction is steeped in the history of painting and feminist art practices.
In recent years, Cain has garnered wide acclaim for site-specific installations such as We Will Walk Right Up To The Sun, 2019, a permanent installation of a 150-foot-long series of stained-glass windows at the San Francisco International Airport; i touched a cactus flower, 2019, a painted interior, including walls, floors, and furniture, in the Paramount Studios Backlot; and Mountain Song, 2017–2018, a large-scale, site-responsive installation at Elk Camp on Snowmass Mountain in Aspen, Colorado.
Cain's solo institutional exhibitions include a site-specific installation at Elk Camp, in collaboration with Aspen Art Museum, Aspen CO; Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, ME; Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; The Momentary, Bentonville, IL; Museum of Contemporary Art Raleigh, Raleigh, NC; Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla, CA; National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C; Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum Bloom Projects, Santa Barbara, CA; Tang Teaching Museum, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY and has a forthcoming exhibition in 2023 at the Henry Museum in Seattle, WA.
Recent group exhibitions include 13 Women, Orange County Museum of Art, Costa Mesa, CA, 2022; In Search of the Miraculous, FLAG Art Foundation, New York, NY, 2021; RED: online group exhibition, Galerie Lelong, New York, NY, 2020; Bright | Shiny, Anthony Meier Fine Arts, San Francisco, CA, 2019; The light touch, Vielmetter Los Angeles, Los Angeles, 2019, CA; Take Up Space, Pizzuti Collection, Columbus, OH, 2018; Platforms, Armory Art Fair, New York, NY, 2018; Artwork for Bedrooms, CCA Wattis Institute, San Francisco, CA, 2018; Surface Work, Victoria Miro, London, UK, 2018; Jump Ball, Dio Horos, Mykonos, Greece, 2017; Holdings: Selections From MCASD’S Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, San Diego, CA, 2016; Contemporary Collection, San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio, TX, 2016; Surrogates, Griffin Art Projects, Vancouver, BC, 2016; Variations: Conversations In And Around Abstract Painting, LACMA, Los Angeles, CA, 2015; I was a double, Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, NY, 2014; and IN __ WE TRUST: Art and Money, Columbus Museum of Art, OH, 2014.
Selected public collections include Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, TX; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; The FLAG Art Foundation, New York, NY; Los Angeles County Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, San Diego, CA; North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC; The Margulies Collection, Miami, FL; The National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C; Orange County Museum of Art, Costa Mesa, CA; Perez Art Museum, Miami, FL; Pizzuti Collection, Columbus, OH; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Saratoga Springs, NY; UBS Art Collection; and the Zabludowicz Collection, London, UK.
Sarah Cain: Day after day on this beautiful stage
Known for her exuberant abstractions, Sarah Cain (b. 1979, Albany, NY) often extends her practice beyond the canvas into installation, site-specific painting, stained glass, and furniture. Her work draws from sources as disparate as Abstract Expressionism, graffiti, and pop music, and incorporates materials as diverse as sand, feathers, jewelry, crystals, and fabric. At the Henry, the artist has created an immersive architectural intervention in dialogue with the double-height architecture of the museum’s East Gallery.
Cain’s muscular, gestural painting embraces a strategically intuitive power that both undermines and expands our expectations of what has been historically considered “serious” abstract painting. Her color-soaked palette often mixes with a wide range of found objects that in turn complement her titles, which range in reference from the sweet to the erotic, from the mystical to the political. Cain redefines abstraction in feminist terms as an architecture for transformative, embodied, emotive experience. Her work emphatically insists on the value of feminine, queer, and other “othered” aesthetics, intentionally subverting male-dominated art historical traditions.
At the beginning of her career, Cain made dozens of site-specific paintings in abandoned buildings; by nature, these were ephemeral works. As her practice evolved, she has continued to create massive on-site works and preserved the impulse to treat painting seriously, but not preciously. For this exhibition, Cain transforms the gallery into a single monumental painting that wraps the floor and walls, created entirely on-site. Extending the full height of the walls, the work connects the two floors, creating different vantage points and experiences on each level. On the mezzanine level, viewers first encounter the artist’s suspended stained glass piece placed in the window, where it interacts with the exterior environment in constant flux depending on conditions of light and shadow. In the lower gallery, the work creates an immersive and surprisingly intimate, energizing space for the viewer. The audience becomes physically a part of the work as they enter, and can directly engage with the couch sculptures. Enhancing this direct intimacy are a suite of the artist’s $ Talismans, which transform the everyday item into a magical object of power.
Often referencing lyrics from popular or particularly resonant songs in her titles, Cain has chosen Day after day on this beautiful stage, a line from the 1998 Silver Jews song “We Are Real,” for this exhibition. In it, musician/poet David Berman captures the painful yet transformative experience of creative life (or perhaps just life itself), and embraces how we retain meaning over time despite its darkness and our inevitable mortality.
Curated by the museum’s CEO and Director Heidi Zuckerman, 13 Women marks the museum’s 60th anniversary, paying homage to the 13 women who founded the Balboa Pavilion Gallery, the earliest iteration of OCMA, which was opened in 1962. Presented with multiple rotations over the course of almost a full year, 13 Women presents work from the 1960s to the present by artists central to the museum’s collection. Centered on the work of 13 pioneering female artists, each of whom share the visionary qualities of the museum founders, the multigenerational group exhibition celebrates OCMA’s rich history—one distinguished by innovative and groundbreaking exhibitions, thoughtful programming, and a deep commitment to artists. The 13 women included in the exhibition’s first rotation, on view October 8, are Alice Aycock, Joan Brown, Lee Bul, Lucy Bull, Sarah Cain, Vija Celmins, Mary Corse, Mary Heilmann, Barbara Kruger, Cady Noland, Catherine Opie, Hilary Pecis and Agnes Pelton. From timely and prescient works to iconic pieces, 13 Women looks back to look forward, exemplifying the museum’s commitment to sharing outward through objects and storytelling. Additional highlights include Charles Ray’s work Ink Box (1986) and Self Portrait (1990), both acquired from OCMA’s presentation of Ray’s first solo museum exhibition, alongside a new site-specific painting by Sarah Cain in the Avenue of the Arts Gallery. 13 Women is supported by Bank of America.
A panel of nationally recognized curators, local arts professionals and community members from the Purple Line Extension Section 2 and 3 project areas has selected artists to create site-specific, integrated artworks for the future Wilshire/Rodeo, Century City/Constellation, Westwood/UCLA and Westwood/VA Hospital stations.
The diverse range of accomplished artists includes:
Eddie Rodolfo Aparicio (Century City/Constellation Station)
Moses X. Ball (Westwood/UCLA Station)
Sandow Birk (Westwood/VA Hospital Station)
Sarah Cain (Century City/Constellation Station)
Victoria Fu + Matt Rich (Westwood/VA Hospital Station)
Karen Hampton (Westwood/UCLA Station)
Phung Huynh (Century City/Constellation Station)
Oscar Magallanes (Century City/Constellation Station)
Yunhee Min (Westwood/UCLA Station)
Meleko Mokgosi (Wilshire/Rodeo Station)
Rigo 23 (Wilshire/Rodeo Station)
Gala Porras-Kim (Westwood/UCLA Station)
Analia Saban (Century City/Constellation Station)
Francesco Simeti (Westwood/VA Hospital Station)
Eloy Torrez (Westwood/VA Hospital Station)
Devon Tsuno (Wilshire/Rodeo Station)
Iris Yirei Hu (Westwood/UCLA Station)
As part of a competitive process, the artist selection panel carefully considered each artist’s professional qualifications and examples of past work. Panelists included: Arthur Lewis, Creative Director, United Talent Agency Artist Space; Anna Sew Hoy, Chair, UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture, Department of Art; Cate Thurston, Associate Curator, The Skirball Cultural Center; Connie Butler, Chief Curator, The Hammer Museum at UCLA; Jean Tardy-Vallernaud, Founding Chair, Century City Arts Council; Ken Gonzales-Day, artist; LeRonn P. Brooks, Associate Curator, The Getty Research Institute; Michael Amescua, artist; Stephanie Vahn, Chair, Beverly Hills Arts and Culture Commission; and Thao Nguyen, Art and Design Agent, Creative Arts Agency.
Sarah Cain's "My favorite season is the fall of the patriarchy" will be on display at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC when the East Building reopens in December 2021.
Sarah Cain’s energetic installation jumps the bounds of a 45-foot-long painted canvas to integrate a variety of surfaces in the East Building’s Atrium. Extending onto the nearby protective sculpture enclosures and well covers, Cain’s painted elements surround and complement the canvas to create a dynamic installation that encourages movement and close-looking.
The exhibition "Sarah Cain–Enter the Center" will be on view at the Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College from 10 July to 28 November 2021.
Sarah Cain is an artist who explores and expands upon traditional ideas of painting. Cain works on canvases of all sizes, often modifying canvases by cutting and braiding, painting on all sides, and installing the canvas with the back of the painting facing the viewer. She also paints on other surfaces, including interior and exterior walls, floors, and dollar bills.
The creation and destruction of her paintings is part of Cain’s process that, in part, revolves around self-discovery. Cain describes herself as a feminist painter, using elements that are traditionally seen as feminine and “girly” as an act of non-conformity and antipathy to the patriarchal hierarchies of painting.
The exhibition "Sarah Cain–In Nature" will be on view at the Momentary, a satellite art space of Crystal Bridges in Bentonville, AK from 13 February to 30 May 2021.
Los Angeles-based artist Sarah Cain will create a site-responsive exhibition for the Momentary. Sarah Cain: In Nature will include colorful abstract works on canvas, functional floor paintings, sculpture, and a stained-glass window. Known for her brightly colored installations that blur the boundaries between painting and sculpture, Cain’s work moves over and off the canvas, responding to architecture at large.
Sarah Cain is included in "Grouper" at Broadway Gallery, New York City, NY from 20 January – 20 February 2021.
Sarah Cain has been awarded a 2020 Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Grant.
Known for her brightly colored installations that blur the boundaries between painting and sculpture, Sarah Cain's work moves over and off the canvas.
Sarah Cain is included in "RED", an online group exhibition by Galerie Lelong & Co on view from 10 April to 8 May 2020.
A primary color charged with connotations of the body, emotions, politics, and pop culture, "RED" brings together a display of how Galerie Lelong artists have interpreted and utilized the color in a myriad of media.
The exhibition "Sarah Cain: hand in hand" will be on view at the Colby Museum of Art from 31 March 2020 to 13 December 2020.
Cain seeks out new territories for painting and frequently works at the scale of architecture. For the Colby Museum, she will create an on-site painting that will cover the full expanse of the lobby floor. In a space that functions as a gateway to the galleries, Cain’s hand in hand will be immersive and reorienting, evidencing change and transformation in response to experience, from the ground up.
Sarah Cain will be included in "Driving Forces: Contemporary Art from the Collection of Ann and Ron Pizzuti" at the Pizzuti Collection of the Columbus Museum of Art from 26 October, 2019 to 8 March, 2020.
With work by more than 50 artists from more than 20 different countries, "Driving Forces" features a wide-range of work that not only responds to, but helps shape contemporary culture. Work by artists who influenced the direction of twentieth-century art are joined by others who are helping to define what art means in the twenty-first.
This September Cain will unveil a major public work of her own, a 150-foot-long series of 37 vividly colorful stained-glass windows, funded by the San Francisco Arts Commission, which she hopes will inspire passers-by in an equally unlikely setting: the new AirTrain terminal at the city’s international airport. The completed work will incorporate panes of glass in over 270 colors, framed in soldered zinc, which Cain has painstakingly arranged so that no two adjoining fragments are the same shade. “If a work is going to span that much space, you want the viewer to keep discovering things,” she says.
Sarah Cain will be included in the exhibition "The light touch" at Vielmetter Los Angeles from 7 September - 19 October 2019. The exhibiition will feature the works of artists Math Bass, Sadie Benning, Linda Bessemer, Sarah Cain, Iva Gueorguieva, Caitlin Lonegan, Yunhee Min, and Monique van Genderen.
Honor Fraser is pleased to present The Sun Will Not Wait, a solo exhibition of new works by Sarah Cain. The exhibition will be on view from 12 January through 9 March 2019. For The Sun Will Not Wait, the artist will create a new floor painting onsite prior to the opening along with a body of new canvases concluding with an upward view through a skylight work inspired by a major commission by the San Francisco Arts Commission for a stained-glass wall at the San Francisco International Airport to be unveiled in June 2019.
In the paintings of Sarah Cain, spatial constraints and material pieties fall away with fearless colors, easily expanding out from canvases into installations which have in the past included furniture, clothing, jewelry, and found objects. A spirited post-minimalist, Cain crafts an abstraction intertwined with life.
Sarah Cain will be included in Take Up Space at Pizzuti Collection, 8 September 2018 - 20 January 2019.
Take Up Space presents abstraction as it travels across floors, hangs on walls, and is suspended above stairwells. Abstraction runs throughout this space, exploring and becoming territory. The works - mostly paintings - are results of artsits' projects that consider the relevance and power of abstractions' possibilities. The works in these galleries respond: to architecture, to history, to color, to taste, to edges, to time, and to our sociopolitical climate. They are explorations of form. They require us to notice their experimentation. They charge us to take the color, shapes, and scale of their structures into account.
The Culver Center of the Arts is pleased to present the group exhibition, Painting Architecture, with works by Sarah Cain. The exhibition will be on view from 1 September - 29 December 2018. Painting Architecture invites viewers to contemplate the distinctions between architecture and painting. The artists featured in the exhibition explore elements of architecture including volume, facade, public and private spaces, and utility. The artists consider the differences of presence and examine the tension between architecture's ties to function and paintings' rejection of practical usefulness.
Cutting, collaging, and expanding paintings beyond their boundaries, Sarah Cain redefines the nature of painting. Though the scale of her work is at times architectural, Cain incorporates small found objects amid drawn and painted gestures, sometimes including domestic furniture such as a vanity or dresser.
Sarah Cain will be included in Artwork for Bedrooms at The Wattis Institute, 15 March - 12 May 2018.
Artwork for Bedrooms tells the story of eight artists living in San Francisco 2000–08, a period that until now has been framed by the Mission School, artists known for sprawling assemblages that took inspiration from graffiti culture. Artwork for Bedrooms draws a parallel narrative from the same moment of young artists who were similarly invested in “poor” materials, but who put them to work in more abstract, fragile, or conceptual ways. Featuring works by Tauba Auerbach, Sarah Cain, Ajit Chauhan, Veronica DeJesus, Colter Jacobsen, Sahar Khoury, Alicia McCarthy, and Will Rogan.
Artwork for Bedrooms is curated by CCA’s Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice Class of 2018 Maddie Klett, Zhaoyu Lin, MK Meador, Cristiane Ulson Quercia, Rosa Tyhurst, and Qinyue Xu.
Los Angeles–based painter Sarah Cain creates immersive, abstract installations with a bold use of color, material, and improvisation. Within her lyrical, energetic compositions, she pushes the boundaries of what painting can be and the place where painting and sculpture meet. For the 2017–18 ski season, Cain will create a site-responsive work at Elk Camp on Snowmass Mountain, working with and against the space’s architecture.
The Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, has a new space in downtown Los Angeles. As part of the inaugural exhibitions, Sarah Cain has created a dynamic wall installation for the ICA LA courtyard titled "now i'm going to tell you everything," 2017. Working in a patchwork of different materials and gestures, Cain's signature abstract style manipulates the perception of the painted canvas.
Galerie Lelong is pleased to present Dark Matter, a solo exhibition of new work by Los Angeles-based artist Sarah Cain. Advancing her constant search into new territories of abstraction and the possibilities of painting, Cain will transform the gallery with her first monumental floor painting that will cover and activate the entire 2,500 square foot exhibition space. By inviting viewers to step on top of the site-specific work, Cain further explores the boundaries between painting, sculpture, and installation. A dozen new paintings that recontextualize the conventional limits of the medium will also be on view.
Sarah Cain is included in Surrogates at Griffin Art Projects. The exhibition presents a selection of recent works from local private collections featuring some of Vancouver’s most prominent artists as well as significant international figures. The artworks are characterized by various kinds of surrogates, both literal and metaphoric.
ARTBOOK invites you to celebrate the publication of Sarah Cain: The Imaginary Architecture of Love published by CAM Raleigh.
Saturday, February 13
5:00 to 6:00 pm
LA ART BOOK FAIR
CAM Raleigh (Contemporary Art Museum) is pleased to present The Imaginary Architecture of Love by Sarah Cain. Cain will create a monumental painting directly on the walls and floor of the 4,000 square foot museum. As is typical of her practice, Cain will embed objects found in situ and layer paintings made on traditional stretched canvases within the work.
Honor Fraser is pleased to present Sarah Cain: Bow Down, a solo exhibition of new works by Sarah Cain.
29 May - 11 July 2015
Sarah Cain is included in Variations: Conversations in and Around Abstract Painting. This exhibition presents 30 artists whose work reflects the language and style of abstraction: Markus Amm, Mark Bradford, A.K. Burns, Sarah Cain, Aaron Curry, Theaster Gates, Mark Grotjahn, Iva Gueorguieva, Sergei Jensen, Rashid Johnson, Jennie C. Jones, Rachel Lachowicz, Dashiell Manley, Julie Mehretu, Dianna Molzan, Albert Oehlen, Alexandra Olson, Laura Owens, Anthony Pearson, Howardena Pindell, Gerhard Richter, Sterling Ruby, Analia Saban, Maaike Schoorel, Amy Sillman, Diana Thater, Lesley Vance, Mary Weatherford, Lisa Williamson, and Christopher Wool.
24 August 2014 – 22 March 2015
Sarah Cain's newest site-specific work at LAND HQ is now on view at on Highland and Santa Monica in Hollywood, CA.
6775 Santa Monica Blvd., #2A
Los Angeles, CA 90038
Sarah Cain is included in 'I was a double,' a multilayered exhibition/composition interweaving music and art. On view 5 July 2014 - 4 January 2015 at the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College.
5 July 2014 - 4 January 2015
Sarah Cain will be included in the group show My Crippled Friend opening on 11 October at Canzani Center Gallery at the Columbus College of Art & Design.
11 October 2013 - 10 January 2014
Sarah Cain will be included in the group show Outside The Lines at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston.
October 31, 2013 – March 23, 2014
LAND (Los Angeles Nomadic Division) will present Painting in Place, a group exhibition of contemporary painting in the historic Farmers and Merchants Bank in Downtown Los Angeles.
Artists include Rita Ackermann, Kevin Appel, Jennifer Boysen, Sarah Cain, N. Dash, Matias Faldbakken, Kim Fisher, Barnaby Furnas, Alexandra Grant, Matt Greene, Mark Hagen, David Hendren, Julian Hoeber, Rashid Johnson, Jacob Kassay, Olga Koumoundouros, Jim Lee, Nate Lowman, Allison Miller, Sam Moyer, Amanda Ross-Ho, Analia Saban, Kate Shepherd, Gary Simmons, Vincent Szarek, Britton Tolliver, Kon Trubkovich, Monique van Genderen, and Bobbi Woods.
401 South Main Street Los Angeles, CA 90013
22 May - 31 July, 2013.
Sarah Cain will be included in PAINT THINGS: beyond the stretcher, a group exhibition at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum.
Sarah Cain will be included in Wall, a group exhibitionat at the Columbus College of Art & Design.
21 February - 4 April 2013
Sarah Cain will be included in For the Martian Chronicles, a group exhibition at L&M Arts. For the Martian Chronicles pays homage to the late writer Ray Bradbury (1920-2012), who in the 1940’s lived in a home located on the current L&M Arts property. Here, in what was then a small white clapboard house, Bradbury wrote much of what would become his celebrated book, The Martian Chronicles
The exhibition will be on view 8 November 2012 - 5 January 2013
Sarah Cain will be included in Treating Shadows as Real Things, a special project as a part of ARTISSIMA Lido in Turin, Italy. The exhibition will be held in the Church of The Holy Shroud where artists: Lucas Blalock, Sarah Cain, Giorgio de Chirico, Samara Golden, Mark Hagen, Anthony Lepore, Andrea Longacre-White, Carlo Mollino and Ry Rocklen address the flexibility of perception, the nature of belief and the space and possibility of the metaphysical.
Sarah Cain's first monograph, published by LAND, is scheduled for release on 11 July 2012. The book details the artist's work from 2002 to the present, and features texts by Andrew Berardini, Sarah Cain, Tara McDowell, Shamim M. Momin and Franklin Sirmans.
Sarah Cain has been chosen to participate in Bold Tendencies 6, London, UK. Bold Tendencies is a non-profit summertime sculpture project dedicated to showcasing new art by international artists.
Sarah Cain has been selected to participate in Made in L.A. 2012, the first Los Angeles Biennial organized by the Hammer Museum in collaboration with LAXART. The exhibition is scheduled for 2 June - 2 September 2012 at the Hammer Museum, the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery at Barnsdall Park, and LAXART, Los Angeles.