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Sarah Cain - little by little | Jay Davis - Absence

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press release

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CTRL gallery is pleased to present solo exhibitions by artists Jay Davis (NYC) and Sarah Cain (LA).

Sarah Cain's exhibition is entitled little by little, an abbreviated version of the quote "Living is dying, little by little" from Chuck Klosterman's pop culture essay, Killing Yourself to Live.

In the run-up to this exhibition, Cain spent long hours in an intensive care unit where her mother underwent perilous brain surgery. During this difficult and uncertain time, little by little became a sort of mantra for Cain, not only in terms of the human condition but also regarding the persistent process of making and resolving a painting.

Many of Cain's works begin with emotionally sourced materials, including aged sheet music, a hard-bound book cover, tiny pearlescent shells and place-mats from a meaningful dinner with someone. These materials are transformed, obscured and arranged in an intuitive, open process that has a strong yet ultimately cheerful internal logic.

For her first exhibition in Texas, Cain will present a number of mixed media works on paper as well as two of her new deconstructed canvas paintings. And as with each of her exhibitions, she will also include a sculptural work that serves as a talisman to activate the installation and bring the magic of the studio into the gallery setting.

Sarah Cain was born in Albany, NY and lives and works in Los Angeles. She studied at the San Francisco Art Institute (BFA, 2001) and the University of California, Berkeley (MFA, 2006). Cain's work was included in the 2008 California Biennial (curated by Lauri Firstenberg) and has been exhibited in group exhibitions at Aspen Art Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Berkeley Art Museum, the 2006 Busan Biennial, Korea and galleries internationally. Upcoming exhibitions include a solo exhibition at the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, "Two Schools of Cool", Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA, Solo exhibition, Sara Meltzer Gallery, NYC (Sept 2010) and a Site-specific project at Los Angeles Nomadic Division (LAND) with Shamim Momim (Spring 2011). Cain is represented by Anthony Meier Fine Arts, San Francisco and Sara Meltzer Gallery, New York.

Jay Davis returns to CTRL with Absence, an exhibition of new paintings that lay bare the strangeness of Vision. With precise craft and compositions of undeniable (if inscrutable) logic, Davis makes the familiar seem otherworldly, or vice versa, it's hard to tell.
In the larger acrylic on vinyl paintings, Davis goes from delicately hazy to kaleidoscopically clear as he furthers his exploration of symbolic and psychic space. In the work Nautical, Davis employs what seems to be an endless array of painting techniques including stenciling, airbrushing, glazing, masking and layering. Despite the variegated approach, this is a painting that takes shape before your eyes, or within your eyes, and slowly becomes as resolved and monolithic as the Mona Lisa.

Davis will also be exhibiting a new series of works on paper. Materially these works lie somewhere between painting and printmaking, though they may look at first glance like printed scans of digital collages. With one-word titles like Buried, Fries and Outside, these small-scale vignettes emit a faint whiff of narrative from their mysteriously cropped, seemingly abstract imagery.

Jay Davis received his BFA from the Ringling School of Art and Design, Sarasota, FL (1997) and lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Davis' work has been exhibited at the FLAG Art Foundation, New York City the Hunterdon Museum of Art in Clinton, NJ, the Armory Art Center, Palm Beach, FL and in galleries worldwide. Davis was recently awarded a 2010 NYFA (New York Foundation for the Arts) Fellowship in Painting. He is represented by CTRL gallery, Houston and Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Los Angeles.