Campus News

Paintings by Prof. Thomas Cornell Featured in Connecticut Exhibit Through November 16

Story posted October 28, 2003

Thomas Cornell, the Richard E. Steele Professor of Visual Art at Bowdoin College, is exhibiting two paintings in a landscape exhibition on view at Potter & Slack Gallery in Marbledale, Conn., through November 16. Both images are of the Harpswell beach that Cornell has periodically painted onsite since 1984.

In one painting, a pregnant mother is bending down to care for her child. In the other painting, Harpswell VII, figures were added in response to the tragedy of the ongoing refugee problem. Specifically, in the foreground, Cornell painted a blonde child and an African child, inspired by the Somalians now situated in Lewiston, Maine.

Both pictures reflect Cornell's dual approach to working perceptually from nature while also maintaining his intention to give form to significant social and environmental themes, especially in his larger works.

In Harpwsell VII, the issue of civil fairness is addressed. This picture was also exhibited in the summer exhibition at the National Academy of Design in New York City and is now in a private collection.

A graduate of Amherst College, Cornell studied for a year at Yale School of Art and Architecture. He joined the Bowdoin faculty in 1962. In addition to his long teaching career at Bowdoin, he has taught at the University of California at Santa Barbara and at Princeton University.

He has received many awards, including a Fulbright Grant, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Award, the National Foundation of the Arts and Humanities Fellowship, and a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant.

Cornell has had seven major museum exhibitions and five one-person gallery exhibitions in New York City. Significant group exhibitions include two shows at the Schoelkopf Gallery and a 1969 exhibition with catalogue, Painters as Printmakers, at The Museum of Modern Art. Large paintings were selected for the first group exhibition of American art in the Soviet Union, Painting Beyond the Death of Painting, shown in Moscow in 1989.

Recent group exhibitions include the 2001 inaugural show for the renovated Mead Art Museum at Amherst College, showing a large figurative painting, and the 2002 Perception of Appearance drawing exhibition at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle, Washington.

Cornell's Four Seasons, a series of large figurative compositions originally commissioned for the John Hancock Building in Boston, are in the collection of the Portland Museum of Art in Maine. In these paintings and in the landscapes recently shown in New York and Connecticut, Cornell works to make images that can model the positive changes that may develop in human conduct through an accurate perception of nature and humanity.

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