Jerry Cornelia | Biography

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Born and raised in eastern Montana, Jerry Cornelia is primarily a self-taught artist. From the mid-1980's to the mid-1990's, he lived and worked in New York painting mannequins...more than 17,000 of them. This experience gave Cornelia strong focusing ability and great knowledge of color. Cornelia exclaims,"You'd be amazed at how many different colors it takes to get the right red for a certain lip color!" Whether it be on some of the tighter, almost trompe l'oeil styled works or the looser, evident brush stroke pieces, his affection for and skills with mixing colors are obvious and unique.

During his New York years, Cornelia also worked in design, which included the Christmas window displays for Saks Fifth Avenue. He also created functional pieces, from birdhouses to clocks, chairs, and tables. At the same time, he began sculpting classical forms, and developed a diverse portfolio of paintings, including surrealistic neo-expressionistic, and neo-primitive styles.

Artist Statement

I was born and raised in eastern Montana and am probably best known for my whimsical take on
people and animals, and for paintings that tell fragments of stories (hopefully keeping the viewers wanting more). With no formal art training, I've managed to compile an eclectic body of work ranging from neo-primitive, surrealist and neo-expressionist to very detailed figurative pieces. I've made a concerted effort not to be limited by self-imposed restrictions on the style or type of art I produce, switching easily from boldly expressionistic work to highly detailed paintings and sculpture. My background in fashion and display lends drama and character to my work, which is further enhanced by subtlety of surface and attention to finish. Every day seems to bring fresh fodder for a new painting, and often I find myself jotting down titles and ideas on scraps of paper and tucking them away for a future work.