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UPCOMING SHOW Up to 20 worhs March l-30,2012 Arcadia Gallery 5l Greene Street NewYork, NY 10013

MarrHEW ConxELL

(212) 965-1387

Mysteries

of twilight atthew Cornell's painttng,

The

Road, exemplifies everything he is

trying to accomplish in his latest series

of paintings. The painting depicts a

junction on a small country road at twilight. The two-lane paved road turns off into a bumbling dirt road enveloped in darkness. Ar-r unmarked street sign frames the scene on

the left while an overgrown cropping of weeds

Iills in the other side of the painting. The overall leeling of thc randorn night scene is one of mystery and familiarity, comfort and, possibly, concern. "You see the main road in the loreground

and then the turn off ends in

complete

darkness," says Cornell. "You see the street, the

dirt road, and the unmarked strcct sign and you start to get the idea of the things happen

ir.r

unknown-so many

our lives that you never know

how they will turn our. You rnake a decision, then turn olf into the unknown." Cornell loves painting at twilight because of the transitory nature of this time of day. The low light of twilight, the time berween day and nighr. i' when "rhe rright creaturet are \rauing

to stir ar-rd hum," when the fbeling of

the

unknown starts creeping into ordinary daily scenes and mystery soon envelopes a scene.

"It intrigues me, the mystery of the twilight," remarks Cornell. "You begin to notice things and things look different. Have you ever noticed how dillerent your own home looks at night rather than day? Things appear,

disappear, and the

light just

gives

it

that

mysterious and strange quality."

This series also is inspired by Cornell's

lovc of discovcry. Driving through

small

towns across the country on his many travels or just finding spots around his home in (lrlando, Florida, Con-rell always lir-rds himself wondering about thc lives of the peoplc hc comcs across

102

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"You pass by a house and think 'lVho lives there?' '\7hat is their story?' "What is going on inside that home?,"' explains Cornell. "I often think about the lives people lead, even if I ve never known them. \What got them to where they are now? How they moved in that direction."

Another painting Crossroads.\X4t11e

in this series is titled

the scene at first glance appears

to be a common railroad crossing in Anytown, USA, Cornell finds much more here.

"So, I wanted to paint the place where Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil in exchange for guitar genius," says Cornell. "I figured if this legend were really true, it would have to be a relatively benign place. It seems like it would be a simple place and not one ofgrandiosity. In the story, it was, indeed, near railroad rracks. In rhis painting we are Robert Johnson, on the railroad tracks oflifel \fle are coming to a crossing. tVe are given a choice. On the right, which is impossible to see here, is a children school crossing sign. This is meant to represent innocence. On the left is a business, which could be a bar, a juke

joint, or whatever. It is occupied and

open

24 hours, because the devil is always open

for

business.

Life is about choices. Robert

tVhat is mine?" Johnson made his. Another important aspect of the paintings D.lwN,

or

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in this series is the

size.

The largest is 20 by

20 inches while the smallest is roughly B by 8 inches.

"One of the effects of the smaller pieces is that they are not necessarily closed," says Cornell. "lVhen you look at one, you see far off into the distance of the paintings. I've always Iiked rhar. I Feel ir is an intimare experience when you stare into the painting and can see so

far." o

For a direct linb to the exhibiting gallery

go

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Matthew Cornell, American Art Collector magazine, March 2012