Music Book is a 64-page facsimile artist's book by Sarah Cain, comprising a series of colorful abstractions painted directly over a collection of vintage sheet music.
The original book of music was found in Switzerland and Cain's paintings within collide with and respond to the previous owner's handwritten notes. Music Book is an extension of Cain's works on paper that balance her installation and large-scale painting practice: these works are intimate meditations; intricate and small-scale.
Cain has been painting Music Book since 2008 and has carried it through three studios. "It is this journal of time that you can open up, start, close, put away, like a diary."
Published on the occasion of Sarah Cain's exhibition "Enter the Center" at the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery,
Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York, in 2021-2022.
Ian Berry is Dayton Director of the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery and Professor of Liberal Arts at Skidmore College. He has organized over 100 museum exhibitions for the Tang and museums across the United States. Berry is a regular speaker on interdisciplinary, inventive curatorial practice and teaching in museums and is well known for publications including monographs on artists Terry Adkins, Nancy Grossman, Corita Kent, Nicholas Krushenick, Dona Nelson, Tim Rollins and K.O.S.
, Alma Thomas, Fred Tomaselli and Kara Walker
Sarah Cain (born 1979 in Albany, New York, lives and works in Los Angeles) 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. She uses vivid colors and shapes, and often includes found objects such as jewelry, pompoms, hula hoops, and other items she has a personal attachment to. Her process often involves altering and disfiguring a composition until the original image is no longer recognizable. 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.
Sarah Cain earned her MFA at the University of California at Berkeley in California and her BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. Her work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Aspen Art Museum; and Contemporary Art Museum, Raleigh. Exhibitions of her work are being presented in 2021 at The National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, the Momentary in Bentonville, Arkansas; and at the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College.