Painter | United Kingdom

patricia cain

Patricia Cain - Painter
"Rather than asking ‘What is this work about?’ the question is ‘What have I come to know about the world through making it?'"

Patricia Cain is a British artist, author and researcher based in Galloway, Scotland. She initially trained and worked as a lawyer before completing a practice-based PhD in drawing at Glasgow School of Art. Her interest in art and cognition provides the grounding for her work which is often quite intense yet varied, comprising of drawings and mixed media works, sculpture and public works of art. 

Analysing the Artistic Experience

Cain looks for an engagement in art that is equally practical and theoretical. Resonating with concerns in science, she connects with the idea that the artist operates as an ecological self -referencing system of processes, where thinking occurs through the body and leads to continual transformation. Invariably, her work comes from a place where observation turns inwards. This might materially evolve in work that’s on the cusp of abstraction and figuration, using processes of intense scrutiny but where the dominant energy created by absence or negative spaces visually activates yet destabilises an artwork. The self-observational aspect of these processes often materially becomes part of the artwork through curation or the organisation of symposia. This allows her to contextualise understandings about thinking and making in deeper ways.

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Theory meets Practice

Cain's book ‘The Enactive Evolution of the Practitioner’ investigates drawing as a process of thinking from the perspective of the practitioner. It combines aspects of psychology,cognitive science,educational theory and art practice to shift the question from 'What's the artwork about?', to 'What does the practitioner come to know about the world through making an artwork?'

Nationally Acclaimed Artist

Patricia Cain won both the Aspect and Threadneedle Prizes in the UK in 2010 and was a finalist in the Arte Laguna Prize in Venice in 2013. She exhibits nationally and internationally, specialising in large scale exhibitions in public galleries and has established herself in the UK as a formidable force. 

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Evolution : complex to simple/simple to complex

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Coalescing the diverse

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Connection Through Observation: The Artist as Natural System

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