An engaged and widely respected figure in Savannah’s art community, as well as an outspoken environmental advocate, Betsy Cain has drawn limitless inspiration from the lush Low Country landscape since settling in Savannah in the early 1980s. From her beginnings as a figurative painter, she adopted a personal form of expressive abstraction, retaining an undercurrent of figuration. Much of Cain’s work can be understood as a tangible product of her passionate internalization of external stimuli.
Cain’s animated compositions, enlivened by daring combinations of color, reveal layers of perception inspired by both the marshy Low Country region and the muse of the body, its physical and spiritual dimensions transformed through the artist’s fertile imagination. Filtered through Cain’s creative vision, the landscape morphs into a poetic rumination upon its own fundamental essence. In Situ, in Cain’s words, “is in part about how a place inhabits you over time. A personal excavation of meanings.”
Cain’s work is informed by her interest in dichotomies-interior and exterior, figuration and abstraction, body and spirit-and in particular the transition or edge between these dualities. Cain, who earned her M.F.A. from the University of Alabama, has produced work in a variety of media, including drawings, watercolors, large-scale oil paintings, and “cut-outs,” which are sculptural paintings on wood cut into an endless variety of stylized, free-flowing forms. A process-oriented artist, she is a devoted habituÃ© of her studio, where her central artistic concerns are restlessly explored through constantly evolving techniques. Although her work has been included in group exhibitions at Telfair Museums and is featured in the permanent collection, this is her first solo exhibition at the Telfair.
Top: Betsy Cain; in situ, too; oil on canvas; 60 x 60 in.; 2011; Courtesy of the artist
Bottom (l-r): Betsy Cain; dripline series; 2011; Courtesy of the artist
Betsy Cain; driptych; 2011; Courtesy of the artist