Interview with Matthew Cornell

Posted by Robert Lange on

What are you currently discovering as an artist?
Every day is a discovery and challenge. Every day Is a discovery in small and big ways of what makes a painting successful. I find the process extremely challenging and very difficult. Traveling on the roads of America is my discovery process. What place or places am I going to come across that I’ve never seen that will inspire me to make a painting. I love discovering new places and the stories behind them. 
How does working with someone motivate/inspire/Encourage you?
I assume you’re talking about this particular show as I don’t actually work with anyone. Bob is a great painter. It’s always a challenge and motivation to produce your best work when you’re involved in a show with artists that you respect and admire.
Describe one of the pieces in the show and why you painted it?
I have a piece called “Hope“. It’s up old lit sign on the side of a road in Maine. There’s a car traveling down the road headed in the direction of the viewer. Both of these are reoccurring themes for me. The single car often symbolizes me (or any seeker) and the years I’ve traveled on the highway in search of material and some kind of truth about America and myself. And hope is thematic to my work. I’ve used hope and grace a number of times in pieces in the last few years.  I’ve often juxtapose those with other ideas that may be personal or related to people in general. 
Where are you right now living? And does that or any other of your adventures weave into the show in some way? 
Place has everything to do with my choices of subject matter. I spent my youth and most of my adult life traveling the roads of America. It’s had a profound impact on the way I see the world and the work that I choose to make. We are currently in Chapel Hill, North Carolina after spending 20 years in Florida. But I’ve lived in many places. I often have thought of home as everywhere and nowhere at once because I have lived and visited nearly every corner of this country. It’s an endless supply of subject matter. A place rich in history, contradiction, beauty, isolation, hope and so many things.
Anything else I would like to talk about?
Painting is very hard to do. It’s an incredible challenge. Not just the physicality/Application/understanding of paint, but figuring out what to paint. Every time I think I’ve exhausted some subject, a new idea opens up in front of me. But I will say more than anything that I find inspiration for everything I’ve done out on the open road. The highway that stretches out to the horizon. If anything defines me or my work, it’s that. 

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