Sam Vaughan: Three Years in the Art Cave

Several themes that keep popping up in Sam Vaughan’s work include: dark history, absurdity, nudity, people staring at potatoes, and Civil War general George Custer. He has a particular affinity for painting Custer and describes the General as “like the annoying neighbor from over the psychic fence – always stopping by and mooching a beer.”

The works in this show were created over the last 3 years in a shipping container attached to an industrial building in Berkeley, California which Sam has dubbed the “Art Cave.” Although he claims it’s too depressing to be used as even a storage unit, Sam finds the Art Cave conducive to his “intuitive and improvisatory” way of working.

Sam attributes his strong sense of narrative to his long-standing interest in printmaking and its history. According to Sam, “the strict procedures and limitations involved in printmaking, especially lithography, are another help in my work – a brake on the chaos. I enjoy ink drawing for much the same reason – you can’t correct it or reverse course, which provides some sort of anchor amidst the mania, and focuses the mind while working.”