Peter Cain


June 24 - September 1, 2017
1062 North Orange Grove
7818 Santa Monica Boulevard



Press Release

Matthew Marks is pleased to announce Peter Cain, the next exhibition in his galleries at 1062 North Orange Grove and 7818 Santa Monica Boulevard. Cain’s first one-person exhibition in Los Angeles since 1990, it features paintings, drawings, and collages made between the late 1980s and 1997, when the artist died of a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of thirty-seven.

Peter Cain first achieved fame in the early 1990s for his paintings of distorted automobiles. Rendered with precision, their gleaming surfaces intensified the seductiveness of the advertising images on which they were based. A critic at the time called them “literal and figurative icons of autoeroticism.” The exhibition includes the full scope of these paintings, from classic muscle cars to late-model sedans. Prelude #3 (1990), for example, depicts a Honda sports coupe distilled to a single wheel and fender. Like many of his paintings from this period, it began with an image cut from a magazine and reconfigured into a hallucinatory new form. Several of Cain’s preparatory collages are on view for the first time, along with sketches, source photos, and notebooks from the artist’s archive.

In 1995, in a departure from the cars, Cain began a new series of paintings. Each composition — part figure study, part landscape — depicts his boyfriend Sean’s reclining head and shoulders on a beach. These new works signaled, in the words of critic Peter Schjeldahl, “the creation of a new high style able intelligently to capture intimate nuances of contemporary Eros on a public scale.” The following year Cain took up another new subject: paintings and drawings of gas stations and strip malls around Los Angeles. Though rendered with the same attention to detail, these works omit all typography from the retail landscape, an abstracting device similar to his mutated automobiles.

This exhibition celebrates the publication of Peter Cain, the first complete monograph on the artist’s work, featuring essays by Beau Rutland, Richard Meyer, and Collier Schorr, and illustrated with over eighty full-color plates of Cain’s paintings and works on paper, as well as photographs of his studios and other archival material, most published here for the first time.

Peter Cain was born in Orange, New Jersey, in 1959. He moved to New York City in 1977 to attend art school, and lived there until his death. His first one-person exhibition was at Pat Hearn Gallery in New York in 1989, and since then his work has been shown in museum and gallery exhibitions across Europe and the United States, including the 1993 and 1995 Whitney Biennials. His first one-person exhibition with Matthew Marks took place in New York in 1992, the year after the gallery opened.

Peter Cain is on view at 1062 North Orange Grove and 7818 Santa Monica Boulevard from June 24 to September 1, 2017, Tuesday through Saturday, from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

For additional information, please contact Jeffrey Peabody at 212-243-0200 or jeffrey@matthewmarks.com.


Download Press Release (PDF 124 K)