‘A Gloriously Unsatisfied Painter’

Sarah Cain, “My favorite season is the fall of the patriarchy,” at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Credit… Rob Shelley.

Brobdingnagian ocular hubbub. Colossus of hue and scream. Tympanic boom. These phrases leapt to mind — of course they did! — as I eyed Sarah Cain’s work. Confession though: Cain owns me for rejecting the term “murals” in favor of “wall paintings.” Call an abattoir a slaughter house is the principle I chase.

Installation view, “Opener 33: Sarah Cain—Enter the Center,” at the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, through Jan. 2. Credit…Arthur Evans.

Cain’s paintings trouble received ideas of what serious art looks like. Almost everything about them — their speed, their brashness, their noodling compositions, their splashes and spray-painted scribbles, their tacky accouterments, their sense of absurdity — seems to undermine the gravitas that large-scale painting traditionally projects.

“Falling For You” (2021), acrylic, oil pastel, bra, beads and thread on canvas at Broadway Gallery. Credit…Sarah Cain and Broadway.

“She’s a gloriously unsatisfied painter,” says Ian Berry, director of the Tang and curator of Cain’s exhibition there.

(Jonathan Griffin, “With Big, Bold Art, Sarah Cain Redefines Seriousness in Painting,” NYTimes, 9-30-21)

(c) 2021 JMN — EthicalDative. All rights reserved

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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