Study for “of exceptions: Isaiah”

18 x 24 inches (46×61 cm)

Pencil, charcoal, tracing paper, and tape on paper


This painting is long horizontally. It contains two figures, each take about half of the paper size, but do not fill the space entirely. The background of the paper has typewriter text, though it is broken and illegible. There are faces cut out from postage stamps and collaged around the surface. On top of all of that are the silhouettes of the two main figures. Outside of the silhouette everything is painted white, and inside the figure you can see the typewriter and the faces. The figure on the left is facing right and reclining on his right arm which is resting at his side with his elbow tucked in. The lright leg extends toward the center of the page, angled down slightly. The left leg is bent at the knee with the foot resting behind the thigh of the right leg. His left arm is extended to the middle of the page and the elbow rests on the knee of the left leg. The second figure iis more dynamic and angled diagonally with his feet sloping down toward the lower right end of the page. His right arm is extended to full length with his finger almost touching the finger of the first figure. His left arm is angled back behind the figure, toward the right edge of the paper. Above the first figure is an elongated oval that is pinched on the left side to a point. Below the first figure is the word "fallt" intentionally misspelled.

Aristotle made specific categorizations of sound. Rational and Irrational. Male and Female. Sane and Insane. After the Greeks determined that sound could be divided, it was easy to determine that the language structures and indications of insanity could be categorized and systematically excluded. The categorization of madness from Aristotle to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM) has predominantly excluded the voices (the sounds) of those who have been diagnosed.

It seems that our histories have been written before we take part in them. We find our role, and stepping aside can shake the balance of what has been written. Michelangelo created a narrative which stands as a monument to history, for history, for the creation of all we experience, the sublime and the ordinary. His paintings on the Sistine Chapel ceiling tell of the heroic being of God, Christ, and human nature as it directs to those ends. This is one example of history which, coming on the heels of Greek categorization, demonized the Mad and sought to create the conditions whereby one could judge others based on their sounds, their form, and/or their characteristics.

I want to overwrite history. I have learned that stories written for my character (my diagnosis) are wrong. Not only wrong for me, but wrong for those whom I interact with. In order to overwrite history I have to work on those parts of our collected history which make a continued impact. I will overwrite the Sistine Chapel. Repainting the ceiling, one panel at a time, I will recreate the entire surface scale.  I will utilize written forms (variations on sound), shifts in perspective, the introduction and elimination of characters, and a new sequence of events to call out and question the narratives that a specifically western view of madness has sold us.

This project will be publicly unveiled in October 2021 in proud partnership with the Epiphany Center for the Arts, located in the historic Church of the Epiphany building in the West Loop neighborhood of Chicago. Their space will house the painted ceiling, suspended above the floor of the main hall. A series of events will highlight the changing landscape of mental health and the necessity for stories of those who live within a diagnosis. 

Become a partner:

You are invited participate throughout this project and the many stages it will take. 

The ceiling is 133 feet long and 46 feet wide. This undertaking will require a large financial consideration. From the materials and fabrication, to the rigging and suspension, this task will necessitate many professionals with expertise beyond my own capacity. Please consider making a contribution to keep this effort moving forward.

This monumental task will require many partners to  bring mental health, stigma, and healing to the forefront of our social dialogue. Whether you are choosing to act as an individual or a corporate sponsor, there are many benefits to supporting this endeavor. 

Benefits may include:

  • Name listed in all printed material 
  • Sponsorship mentioned in our media campaigns
  • Invitations to private events
  • Private studio visits to see the work in progress
  • Unique gifts related to the project

Donations can be made using the PayPal donate button below, or let’s schedule a time to meet in person to discuss the project and its benefits. 

Thank you for your time and consideration. Sign up at the bottom of this page for updates and information about this project and other events related to my work.


use the button above for PayPal donations. If you use Venmo, donations can be sent to @Matt-Bodett. Please be sure to add OF EXCEPTIONS to the message. Anyone who makes a donation, and provides an email, will have access to a final report of expenses, with sensitive information removed. 



As an Anartist (a term with Sanskrit origins and used by artists like Duchamp) Bodett uses visual art, performance art, poetry, video, and sound to advocate for  a better, more human, connection with mental illnesses. His work removes stigma and creates unique settings for understanding one’s relationships to mental health and disability at large. 

After being diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder in 2005, Bodett graduated with an MFA from Boise State University in 2011 and moved to Chicago shortly afterward to pursue a more full time studio practice. He has been a 3Arts/Bodies of Work Fellow, a 2019 Incubator Artist with High Concept Laboratories, a 2019 3Arts/MacDowell Fellow, and has performed at the No Limits Festival in Berlin, at the Freud Museum in London, and with VAE in Religh. Matt Bodett serves on the Advisory Board for the Institute for Therapy Through the Arts and on the 3Arts Artist Council.

Image credit: Elaine Suzanne Miller

Honor the act of Seeing
Attention as the Creative Act
Realize Self and Other as one
Affirm Life
Be Generous
Honor the Body
Explore the intimacy of all things

A 4k/HD version of this film is available to purchase. If you are interested please email for more details.

Drawings from MacDowell

The images above are a selection of works completed as a 3Arts/MacDowell Colony Fellow in the spring of 2019.

poor traits

6.25 x 10 in   15.875 x 25.4 cm

Poems on love