Marcus Cain is a resident of Kansas City, MO and Director of Alumni Relations at the Kansas City Art Institute.  He is recipient of a Charlotte Street Foundation Visual Artist Award Fellowship in 2012.  His work is part of several public collections including Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, Sedalia, MO; Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KS; Sprint Corporation, Overland Park, KS; and American Century Investments, Kansas City, MO.

Artist Statement


For me, painting is an act of quiet and slow resistance to a hyperactive world and a filter for the constant bombardment of an accelerating Information Age.  I construct images for that narrow delay between sight and perception — a territory between looking and seeing — where color and texture are in the service of gestures that may alternately serve as both subject and verb. 

In these latest works, I employ humble organizing lines and signs not unlike tally and slash marks, hashtags and dashes that have been freed from their conformity in charts, ledgers, the Internet and written language. I use them instead to divide space, weave color and suggest densities of shadow, light, movement, weight, gravity, atmosphere and other aspects of our elemental world.

These incremental stitches of paint are applied by dipping pieces of wood into pigment and stamping surfaces with repeated gestures that imply a directional brush stroke. Through this application, I appeal to the eye’s saccadic movements to detect and read patterns by creating disruptions or breaks within accumulated marks that may not always reconcile as form.

My paintings represent a visual conversation between fragmentation, compression and alignment of (mostly shallow) illusionistic spaces. My intent is to un-focus the viewer’s eye and suspend it in a state of visual vibration — to induce a semi-meditative state of contemplation and the synesthetic experience of a feeling gaze upon tactile paintings.

Content within these alignments represents a high-low bridge between the origins of a quotidian Midwest American childhood and narratives abstracted from adult interests in biological perception, language, memory and the presence/absence of the figure and its attendant identities.

Collectively these works are meditations on personal and universal mythologies, acts of transformation and discovery and loss in the natural and man-made world.

Solo and Two-person Exhibitions


Alignments, Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO, 2018.
Wonder & Dread, Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO, 2012.
Soft Bones, Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO, 2009.
In Tandem: Anne Pearce & Marcus Cain, Kansas City Jewish Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KS, 2007.
Tales of Caution, Greenlease Gallery, The Center for Arts and Letters at Rockhurst University, Kansas City, MO, 2005.
Middle Ground, Dolphin  Gallery,  Kansas  City,  MO, 2000.



Charlotte Street Foundation Visual Artist Award Fellowship, Kansas City, MO.
Inspiration Grant, Arts KC Fund, Arts Council of Metropolitan, Kansas City, MO.
Creative Capital Professional Development Grant, Kansas City, MO / New York, NY.
ARTWall Public Art Commission, Art in the Loop Foundation, Kansas City, MO.
Visiting Curator and Critic Program, Studio Visit with James Elaine, Curator of Hammer Museum at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA. Hosted by Kansas City Art Institute.
Full Tuition Scholarship, Chautauqua Institute of Visual and Performing Arts Residency Program, Chautauqua, NY.


Recent Bibliography


The Haunting Stippled Portraits of Marcus Cain, Danny Olda, Beautiful Decay magazine, January 8, 2013, online.
KCAI & Blue Canvas, Students, Alumni & Faculty, Anne Canfield, Blue Canvas magazine, Issue 13, October 2012.
Bizarre to Sublime at Sherry Leedy, Dana Self, Kansas City Star, Thursday, June 14, 2012.
Charlotte Street Winners Think Big,  Alice  Thorson,  Kansas City Star,  Sunday,  March  4,  2012.



B.A. Painting  &  Printmaking, Kansas City  Art Institute, Kansas City, MO.


Gallery Representation


Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO.
George Billis Gallery, New York,  NY.

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