Liam Besneatte-Cullinane

My work exists as an intersection between my brain and others’. I am fascinated by the self-contained, distinct reality that exists within every person’s mind. This has led me to fully devote my efforts to understanding the ontology of thought, i.e. what thought is, what can be said of the existence or nature of thought, how thought can or cannot be categorized. In my current body of work, my research has been focused on the scientific nature of thought development through biology, psychology, and anatomy, as well as the philosophical implications of thought; human identity, instinct vs. socialized nature, and epistemology, the study of knowledge itself. Thought is the defining feature of our human species, and there is no consensus as to how it is defined or understood. My goal is to understand everything I can, share this, and compel others to do the same.

My art making practice is fully intuitive. While I may spend weeks developing a concept or researching a topic, the physical act of making is fast, gestural, and instinctual. My choices of media are dictated by availability and cohesion with the form of the artwork in my mind. Repeated motifs in my current body of work include ink splatters reminiscent of biological processes, collage using scientific or wartime imagery, harsh and emotive lines, abstracted language and impossible perspectives.

I aim to create a distinct, surreal, existential mental landscape in the mind of my viewer. It is my hope that within this illusionary space, viewers are forced to experience ideas that compel them to introspection and extrospection - and this area, between the mind and the world, is where I find myself the most at home.


Liam Besneatte-Cullinane is a multimedia artist currently attending Emory & Henry college. Cullinane was born in northern Idaho in 1997, and at a young age moved from the west coast to northeast Tennessee where they still live. Homeschooled until college age, Cullinane was able to develop their creativity and curiosity freely as a child; they often abandoned their schoolwork to explore the forest, natural science books, and their own imagination.

Cullinane’s current body of work examines cognition, the mind in empirical and rationalist contexts, epistemology of the human condition, and inductive research about what it means to have thoughts. This project primarily employs mixed-media as a medium, and is characterized by deconstructed and anti-formalist composition and mark making. Cullinane aims to communicate their theses through emotive, illusionary, and compelling imagery.

Since September 2017, Cullinane has been employed at the McGlothlin Center for the Arts where he currently holds the position of assistant curator. In this role, Cullinane has been directly involved in the design, production, hanging, and attending of over twenty professional gallery shows.

Cullinane is the vice president of service fraternity Theta Chi Epsilon, and president of the Student Art Association. They were awarded the Emily Williams award in 2019, given to only one Junior at Emory & Henry per year, which provides a fully paid summer study program in the United Kingdom, and also receives an annual Art Department scholarship.

Cullinane’s hobbies include driving his ’95 Ford Explorer through the mountains, listening to hip-hop, and philosophical talks with friends.