Art by definition is the expression of one's creativity or imagination, perfected, and appreciated for its beauty or emotional value. It's the difference between looking at a picture, and seeing a moment captured in time. The difference between listening to an actor recite lines, and watching a performance artist captivate an audience. The difference between a musician playing notes and chords, and an artist becoming the music. It's intangible. The elements within fleeting moments, artists possess the great ability to document. The capacity to pull us into their experience, as told through their lens and medium. Visual Arts are no exception.
It's why we can look at a Vasya Kandinsky or Lillian Verkins painting and feel our pulse quicken, or a wave of calm wash over us.
It's the very vivid nostalgia I experience when taking in a Matthew Cornell piece. "Shine," a small painting we recently acquired, takes me back to 11-12 years old. The days when myself and other neighborhood kids had to be home when the street lights came on. "Shine" evokes an independence. A rebellion. It's summer time. The Florida air is sticky; it smells like wet grass, and the sound of crickets fills the quiet street. I'm out later than I am supposed to be. The street lights have just come on, and night has begun to blanket the neighborhood. Quiet yards set against houses with life shining through their windows seem to magnify the stillness of the street. I'm on my way home, albeit not in a hurry, and I am savoring the freedom.
It's the feeling of that first taste of freedom that I experience every time I stop and appreciate "Shine." There are days when I prolong it, just to get lost in it for a moment longer. A lover of fiction, "Shine" is every bit as engrossing as a well-written novel. Cornell is also a master of technique. His accolades include being the only artist, ever in 55 years, to win the Winter Park Art Festival's top award - three times. In addition to taking home best in show in 2003 and 2013. And concerning detail, his photorealistic style rivals many photographs.
Orlando as a growing city, may not yet boast a large amount of truly talented authentic artists. We do, however, have incredible, genuine artists who call Orlando home. Artists who inspire, enthrall and transport viewers with their craft. At Henao Contemporary Center we not only celebrate these artists but we bring them together.
© Meagan Westerberg Henao & HENAO Contemporary Center
*From Orlando artist Matthew Cornell's FB page.