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Sandra Liu

Maryland Institute College of Art

Pillowtalk (The Bathers)
oil on canvas


Tell us about the work that you have submitted.

This work is about the anxiety of building and maintaining meaningful relationships. I painted this shortly after transferring schools and felt like I was losing intimacy with everyone I used to love.

How do you describe your work and practice?

My paintings use figurative compositions to broach spaces of awkwardness, fear, innocence and intimacy. Oftentimes darkly comedic, my work tackles concepts of great personal horror and humanizes issues of identity, sexuality and social belonging.

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

I am excited by the opportunity to have my work seen and questioned, especially by those who value contemporary figuration and its potential for empathy, violence and change.

What are you currently working on?

My current work is about non-reciprocal relationships and the creation of identity through fandom. Using television personas, self-created fan characters and other figurative references to media culture, I explore themes of voyeurism, idolatry and consumption.