Sarah Cain

Dark Matter

September 8 – October 15, 2016

Press Release

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.

Dark Matter, an invisible material with mysterious properties that hypothetically constitutes much of the universe, serves as a metaphor for Cain’s artistic process. Looking beyond the traditional notion of painting within the frame, Cain utilizes abstraction and spatial interventions to capture invisible, yet palpable emotions, personalities and experiences. Known for creating work that responds to architecture and the built environment, Cain embraces the relationship of psychological and physical space by encouraging viewers to be fully present and immerse themselves within her work.

The experience and scale of Dark Matter is immense. As the viewer becomes subsumed in Cain’s world, the poetry of it is uncovered, allowing for a personal engagement with the artist’s bodily and emotional involvement with her work. The unabashed nature of the artist’s hand is difficult to ignore as angles and perspectives shift while moving through the colorful work. The viewer is surrounded by mark-making that ranges from loose and lively to highly controlled. Cain continues to explore where painting can go by employing varying techniques in the work to create airbrushed and gestural lines, splashes and stripes, and geometric forms.

In addition to the installation, Dark Matter brings together a dozen new paintings. Cain’s uninhibited use of pigment and found materials such as chain link, sunglasses, pinwheels, and prisms reveal her confrontation and challenge of the traditional tenets of painting. 

In using a broad spectrum of color and freedom within the media, Cain’s paintings hold the risk and ambition seen in her site works in a much more intimate scale. Loopy (2016) presents a cohesive balance between the frenzied movement of thrown paint in the background and the contemplative wandering line in the foreground. The picture plane is also disrupted by a camouflaged hanging bundle of torn canvas; like hair, it imbues the painting with a near-corporeal presence. These moments of visual slip bring humor, a sense of magic, and at times a reference back to the viewer’s own body.

Sarah Cain was born in 1979 in Albany, New York. She received a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2001 and a MFA from the University of California, Berkeley in 2006. Her most recent museum solo exhibition, Sarah Cain: The Imaginary Architecture of Love, at the Contemporary Art Museum, Raleigh featured a 4,000 square foot original site-specific work. Also in 2015, Cain mounted the solo exhibition, Sarah Cain: blue in your body, red when it hits the air at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla, CA. Cain's work has been included in many museum group exhibitions in recent years, including: Variations: Conversations in and around Abstract Painting, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA (2014); Now-ism: Abstraction Today, Pizzuti Collection, Columbus, OH (2014); Outside The Lines, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TX (2013); Painting in Place, Los Angeles Nomadic Division, Los Angeles, CA (2013); PAINT THINGS: beyond the stretcher, deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA (2013); Made in L.A., Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA (2012); and Gold, Imperial Belvedere Palace Museum, Vienna, Austria (2012). Her work is included in multiple museum collections including: the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin; Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Skidmore College; North Carolina Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; and the San Antonio Museum of Art.

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