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Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks. Simonides

Catherine Mulligan

Catherine Mulligan

Painting is how I come to understand and articulate my feelings about existing in the world, to put it as broadly as possible. Uncertainties, insecurities, and unmet hopes or desires I aim to contain and resolve through a painterly language that is as often elegant and precise as it is awkward, sprawling, chaotic and clumsy. This mixture of dichotomies is meant to correspond to the actual confusion of categories I experience in both my emotional and aesthetic feelings, on a personal level; seeing the funny in the sad, the beautiful in the hideous and destroyed, the monumental in the minor. Using many carefully developed layers through under-painting, sanding, drawing and over-painting, I am both looking to masters like J. M. W Turner and attempting to illustrate the revised and shifting ways the world exists to me. Often, this world is that of the suburban strip-mall, and includes the detritus of modern life. My palette includes both pallid and pastel saccharine colors and harsher, more abrasive reds and oranges and browns. These are meant to evoke both the bodily earth tones and the more artificial color palette found in pop culture and advertising. Occasionally text (from a rub-on Letraset or my own hand) or ephemera fills in borders and relates uneasily, unclearly to the image depicted. Ultimately, my aim is to create paintings that serve as perhaps overly explicit accounts of experiences I've had (visual and psychological).


University of Pennsylvania, Bachelor of Fine Arts, 2010

Graduated cum laude

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Certificate, 2009

Notable Painting Awards


Honorable Mention, 1st Annual Juried Exhibition, Cerulean Arts

The Maybelle Longstreet Prize, 72nd Annual Juried Exhibition, Woodmere Art Museum

Vermont Studio Center Residency with Grant


Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant


Pennsylvania Governors Award

Robert A Ricker Memorial Landscape Prize

The Mindel Caplan Kleinbard Award


Women’s Board Travel Scholarship

Hobson Pittman Prize

Frances Bergman Memorial Prize

Benjamin West Prize for Figurative Painting


Cecilia Beaux Memorial Portrait Prize-Special Notice


PAFA Merit Scholarship


Woodmere Art Museum

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

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