The Bennett Prize


Maria Tomasula University of Notre Dame

Maria Tomasula is an artist and professor of art at the University of Notre Dame. Her paintings are vibrant and luminous, meticulously painted at a level so exacting that the hand of the artist is nearly invisible. Flowers, fruit, meat, insects and other natural objects are portrayed within shallow spaces reminiscent of centuries of Christian and Mexican/Spanish-colonial devotional imagery. These still life arrangements — with their visceral references to martyrdom, sainthood and fetishism — become metaphors for human spirituality. Her paintings have been exhibited in many venues, including Forum Gallery, New York; Forum Gallery, Los Angeles; Zolla/Lieberman Gallery, Chicago; The National Museum of Mexican Art, Chicago; Taller Boricua, New York; The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Connecticut; Illinois State Museum, Springfield; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art & Design, Kansas City; Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, New York; and numerous others. Her work has been written about in publications such as The New York TimesThe New YorkerARTnews, and the Chicago Tribune. Find examples of her work at and

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