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Merritt Barnwell

Yale College

oil on cardboard


Tell us about the work that you have submitted.

The painting is essentially a study of the human body and a play with lights and darks. I wanted to create a visually deceptive, continuous composition that goes beyond the edges of the canvas.

How do you describe your work and practice?

My work is the study of the human body, and also breaks with the conventional canvas and rules of composition. I am most interested in the space and energy that are created when figures interact.

What motivated you to apply to the XL Catlin Art Prize?

I received an e-mail from Yale’s Art Department with information about the contest, and because it was so relevant to my kind of work and seemed like such an amazing opportunity, I applied.

What are you currently working on?

I am working on a series of group portraits. They are large-scale paintings on cardboard. The poses and compositions made by the figures’ bodies create shapes and lines that are architectural and geometric.

Instagram | @merritt_barnwell