Charlotte Cain

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16 Kolams 1, 2005 Pigment, Gum Arabic On Vintage Paper Mounted On Panel 8 X 8 In.
Kautilya #13, 2007 Mineral Pigments And Gouache On Antique Paper And Cotton Fabric 12" X 8.5" © Charlotte Cain
Chandra Lila 8 Mineral Pigments And Gouache On Paper, Mounted On Birch Board 8.25 X 8.25"
Chitra Lila 13 Mineral Pigments And Gouache On Paper, Mounted On Birch Board 8.25 X 8.25"
Green Thought Forest #2, 2011 Gouache, Graphite, Walnut Stain, And Acrylic On Rice Paper Laminated To Baltic Birch 48" X 12" © Charlotte Cain
Quick Facts
RISD (Rhode Island School of Design), 1963, BS
Representing galleries
Charlotte Cain Bio/Statement

CHARLOTTE CAIN                  

Transcendence Design Contemporary, Santa Fe



Charlotte Cain's decades of meditation and art-making as a sacred process manifesting silence infuse her art. In addition to an NEA Artist grant, she has traveled, lived, and created artworks in India and Nepal as a Fulbright Senior Research Fellow. Artist Agnes Martin collected Charlotte's paintings. Her work references Indian and Islamic miniature painting, fabric art traditions, South Asian folk and tribal iconography, and contemporary minimalist painting. Her poetic, iconic gems bring beauty, silence, and joy.

 "My use of the brush is inspired by exercises given to me by two master miniaturists, the late Bannu Sharma of Jaipur and Vijay Sharma of Chamba. I use these courtly painting techniques to recreate a range of images the spiritual energy of which has moved me during my many trips to India. These images include kolams and yantras, wayside and ritual symbols, geometric forms of tantric and modern origin, and pattern elements from fabric design. I structure my paintings with reference to the spare and symmetrical compositions of American transcendental abstract painters including Mark Rothko and my dear friend, the late Agnes Martin. I find inspiration in the minimal works of these painters to express my experience of an unmodulated silence that seems to underlie everything I see, hear, and feel. I can best articulate my experience of silence by being open to all possibilities that arise while I am painting, by avoiding ideas and working intuitively, one step at a time, so that each painting is ultimately about the process of painting itself. While painting spontaneously in symmetrical abstract formats, realizing images I remake from traditional Indian symbols, I hope to create works of art in which viewers can re-enact the experience of silence that above all else brings me delight in the play of painting."

B.S., Painting and Education, Rhode Island School of Design, 1963

Visiting Artist, Art Institute of Chicago, 1979

Painted with master miniaturists, Bannu Sharma, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India and Vijay Sharma, Chamba, Himachal Pradesh, India, 1996-1997


Grants and Awards:

Fulbright Senior Research Fellowship to India and Nepal, 2005-2006

$10,000 Artist‘s Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts, 1980-1981

First Prize, McNeider Museum, Mason City, Iowa, 1980


Selected One-Person Shows of Paintings:

Transcendence Design Contemporary, Santa Fe 2010, 2011, 2012

George Lawson Gallery, San Francisco, 2009

Widener Gallery, Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, 2009

Icon, Fairfield, Iowa 2009, 2006, 2006, 2004

The Attic, New Delhi, India 2008

Kriti Gallery, Varanasi, India, 2007-8

Des Moines Art Center, 2007

Experimental Arts Gallery, Habitat Centre, New Delhi, India, 2006

Sherry Leedy, Kansas City, 2006

Nancy Lurie Gallery, Chicago, 1992

Stella Polaris Gallery, Los Angeles, 1982

Roger Litz Gallery, New York, 1982


Public Collections: Museum of Jnana-Pravaha, Varanasi, India. William Benton Museum. University of Connecticut. Rockefeller Collection. Chase Manhattan Bank, New York. Prudential Insurance Corporation of America, Washington, D.C.

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