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Brian Madonna

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Self-Portrait: September, 1999
oil on canvas


Tell us about the work that you have submitted.

In the creation of this self-portrait, I reflected upon the personal and psychological experiences of being raised in a cult in order to describe aspects of the human condition.

How do you describe your work and practice?

I study the human condition through highly textured oil paintings. Citing personal and historical narratives, my work unpacks the pitfalls of humanistic intention. By painting these abject circumstances, they transform into beautiful, engaging artworks.

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

I was drawn to apply by the opportunity for my work to be shown, as I create work in hope of a viewer’s engagement.

How has your school environment nurtured your practice?

At the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, I learned the importance of material specificity and use in their Studio Lab, where knowledgeable faculty assists with painting and drawing research and experimentation.