Andrew Thomas Catanese grew up in Hanover County, just north of Richmond, Virginia. While geographically considered a mid-atlantic city, Richmond served as the capital of the Confederacy during the Civil War and maintains its identity as a southern city. Catanese’s secular, academic family served as a foil to the conservative community where he spent his formative years. At a young age, he began to engage with religion by reading the Bible, mythology, and fables, and grew disillusioned with the contradictions between the compassion dictated by the text and the modern interpretations. His parents encouraged his curiosity, however the exploration and questioning of faith put him at odds with the protestant traditions that most of his peers followed.
Catanese attended the Sam Fox School of Art and Design at Washington University in St. Louis where he obtained his BFA in Studio Art. He currently lives and works in Atlanta, Georgia between his home in East Atlanta and his studio at the Goat Farm. His figurative, narrative paintings are characterized by a neo-gothic style and horror vacui aesthetic. The work stems from the complex relationship that develops between “outsiders” in the South and the conservatism they disrupt. The dense, tapestry-like images are populated with figures in disguise, caught in moments of violence and intimacy, and surrounded by the thick, heavy native foliage of the South. The paintings depict the South in the echoes of figures and stories at its fringes.