Sarah Cain Bow Down

When It Works, Sarah Cain Kills

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Appropriated from Beyoncé, Sarah Cain in Bow Down at Honor Fraser winks at the notion of advancing feminist agendas in art from within the boundaries of the creative stage. Her alignment with the pop culture diva is a cunning choice, as she asserts the position of power and authority in the spotlight; Cain nods to the idea of choreographing earnest discussions in a playful, pleasurable, and spectacular manner.

Dwelling on these premises, however, is borderline shy of doing disservice to the artist’s larger goal and thus counterproductive. Instead, simply pointing to what works and what doesn’t should be the order of the day. Out of 20 works, all produced in 2015 including one large site specific painting installation, Cain epically kills with a select few — those that most curiously and interestingly combine unconventional materials to construct or reconstruct the painting. Payoffs from other works are far less satisfactory; forget talismans, nude-colored dead leaf, or rag-covered cuteness. The disappointment is not depressing, however, for the artist continues to take risks and bears the consequences for all to see. Not all gems and mementos make a painting more desirable, and that is okay.

In vanity (flawless), dresser, and loveseat, artsy retro furnitures, perfect for a hipster studio apartment, have been converted into supporting structures that are simultaneously extensions of painted canvases. The sculptural paintings, emphasized with clean, hard-edged divisions and punctuated by vivacious scribbling brushstrokes or calculating splatters, are freed from the need to hang — their surfaces expanding and merging with functional objects.

Unlike Jessica Jackson Hutchins’ Ultrasuede Wave, in which a sensual, giant ceramic sculpture fully occupies the sofa, Cain’s third-sculpture, third-painting, third-furniture chimeras seem to propose a new type of art that can be integrated into a smaller, downsized dwelling and lifestyle — you know that we know that everyone knows that McMansions are not exactly sustainable homes of the future. The proposition is far more pragmatic than Viktor & Rolf’s wearable painting haute couture.

Cain boldly and fearlessly throws the possibilities to see what sticks. She is doing just fine.

Sarah Cain’s Bow Down will conclude this Saturday, July 11, 2015 at Honor Fraser in Culver City. It’s a BE-A-FAN.

All images by author for editorial purposes only.

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