#art912: Betsy Cain, Marcus Kenney & Cedric Smith


Savannah-based artists’ show their distinctive points-of-view in the special setting of the National Arts Club!

October 18-28, 2016
The National Arts Club, 15 Gramercy Park South, New York, NY 10003

Telfair Museums is thrilled to announce an exhibition with Savannah-based artists Betsy Cain, Marcus Kenney and Cedric Smith on view from October 18-28 at The National Arts Club in Manhattan, a National Historic Landmark. Savannah-based entrepreneur (and transplanted New Yorker) Johno Morisano, a National Arts Club board member, created the show to raise awareness of Savannah’s thriving art community on a national scale. The exhibition will present recent works by three artists who call Savannah home, creating conversations around representations of place with an emphasis on Savannah and the American South. Cain, Kenney, and Smith’s works demonstrate how artists from one region can express a wide range of perspectives, and the complexity of Southern artists overall.

#art912 is a new Telfair Museums initiative dedicated to raising the visibility and promoting the vitality of artists living and working in Savannah through exhibition opportunities, public programs, and outreach. This exhibition in New York is made possible with support from Visit Savannah and the Savannah Economic Development Authority (SEDA).


Betsy Cain

betsycain2014Betsy Cain’s gestural abstractions—painted, cut-out, and shredded—reference both the internal and external landscapes she navigates and slips between. Cain has stated that “abstraction is the language of the body—the interior. It may be the language of internal space.” For Cain, the ecosystems of Georgia’s coast—including the rivers, tidal estuaries, vast salt marsh, maritime forest and barrier islands—have a palpable imprint on her work by offering endless space to mine as an artist. New and recent works on view demonstrate both her mature artistic facility and penchant towards experimentation in mark-making.

Cain (American, b. 1949) was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama on the University of Alabama campus. She received both her BFA and MFA degrees from The University of Alabama, and did formative undergraduate work at Auburn University and Instituto Allende, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Cain has shown her work at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia in Atlanta, GA; Telfair Museums in Savannah, GA; Florida Mining in Jacksonville, FL; I. P. Stanback Museum and Planetarium, South Carolina State University; The Circle Gallery, College of Environment and Design, University of Georgia, Athens, GA; Macon Museum of Arts and Sciences, Macon, GA; Robert Steele Gallery, New York; Sandler Hudson Gallery, Atlanta; among many others. Her work has been published and reviewed in New American Paintings, Art Papers, & Atlanta Journal Constitution, among others. More at

Marcus Kenney

marcuskenney2016Marcus Kenney’s large-scale narrative works present a tumultuous clash and conflation of imagery and symbolism reflecting America’s melting pot of culture, considering issues including consumerism, environmentalism, religion, mortality, identity, race relations and authority. Kenney’s self-created and ambiguous character ASA NISI MASA, whose name references the nonsensical phrase in Fellini’s iconic film 8 ½, can be interpreted as a hooded figure, an oversized and animated pilgrim’s hat, or a statement on the oversimplification of racial stereotyping. Through a voracious mixing of symbols, materials and styles, Kenney is a Southern storyteller whose work addresses how images represent and push back at identities formed via association and authorship.

Kenney (American, b. 1972) was born and raised in rural Louisiana and lives and works in Savannah, Georgia. Kenney holds an MFA in photography from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). He works in many mediums including sculpture, painting and photography. Kenney has exhibited in museums, institutions, galleries and art fairs internationally, including Tel Aviv, Paris, London, Montréal, New York, Boston, Chicago, Kansas City, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Miami and Portland. His work has been featured and reviewed in Art in America, New American Paintings, Art Papers, New York Times, Boston Globe, ArtVoices, Atlanta Journal Constitution, New York Art Magazine, and Art News. More at

Cedric Smith

cedricsmith2016Cedric Smith is a self-taught artist who draws on a wide range of influences and sources, including landscape art, pop art, brand advertising and photography to express his poignant observations of life in the rural south. Much of his current work is devoted to redressing an observation that dogged him as a child: the absence of Blacks in advertising and on the labels of popular brands. Smith works to insert his own African American narrative into a marginalized and commercialized space, and, by doing so, reclaims some power through representation.

Smith (American, b. 1970) was born in Philadelphia and raised in Thomaston, Georgia, where he moved with his family when he was a young boy. He currently resides in Savannah, GA. Smith has had a number of solo exhibitions since 1998. They include Barbara Archer Gallery, Atlanta, GA; Beverly Libby Gallery, Atlanta, GA; Fay Gold Gallery, Atlanta, GA; Thelma Harris Gallery, Oakland, CA; Noel Gallery, Charlotte, NC, and AT&T, Atlanta, GA; Dillon Gallery, Miami. His work has also been shown in numerous group exhibitions. Public collections in which his work can be found include The Francis Walker Museum in Thomaston, GA; Tubman Museum in Macon, GA, and Morris Brown College, Atlanta, GA. The artist and his work have been the subject of several articles, reviews and television programs. More at