Frank O’Cain teaches the basic principles of pictorial structure. He gives his students a point of departure that enables them to push their work toward a personal, abstract expression. There will be a planned series of exercises in white, black and gray; in color; and in line, all with or without an object or model. The late afternoon class works from the clothed model, with a variety of short poses. In the evening class, students create work without using models or still life.
Frank O’Cain was born in San Diego, California. He studied at the Art Students League of New York for four years, part of that time with Vaclav Vytlacil. He is unusual in that his abstract art derives from an elaborate study of long-forgotten fifteenth-century techniques. For a time, Mr. O’Cain’s oil paintings involved no fewer than a hundred separate glazes. But all these now lie behind him. They bear witness to unusual technical accomplishments. Recently, he has been exploring a new approach to space in painting. As he says, “I am always wandering about in the unknown, asking myself questions, creating new problems, finding fresh possibilities.”
Mr. O’Cain has had one-man shows at Purdue University; the Miriam Perlman Gallery, Chicago, 1981; the Miriam Perlman Gallery, Flint, Michigan; the Princeton Art Association; Levitan Gallery I and II, New York City, 1969, 1977; the Saginaw Art Museum; the Ella Sharp Museum, Jackson, Mississippi; Northern Illinois University; the Theano Stahelin Kunstsalon, Zurich, Switzerland; and at the Elizabeth V. Sullivan Gallery (at the League Residency at Vyt, 2013). He has participated in group shows at DD&B Gallery, New York City, 1996, 1998; Gallery Korea, New York City, 1999; Gen Paul Gallery, Paris, France, 2002; the Metropolitan Museum of New York, 2013; and the Pompidou, Paris, 2013.
His work is represented in the collection of the White Building, University of Michigan; the Midwest Museum of American Art, Elkhart, Indiana; and in the Saginaw Art Museum. He has taught at Merrimack Valley of Music and Art in Manchester, New Hampshire, and at the Fairlawn Community Center in New Jersey.