Matthew Cornell was born in Fairfield, CA in 1964. His first memories are of traveling across the United States in a car. His childhood was, in a sense, the quintessential American experience, because the notion of a “road trip” was conceived and perpetrated by Americans. The automobile and the family trip was, and still is, ours. It is these experiences driving across this land at a young age that formed his way of seeing things. Cornell says, ”Every year we travelled across the US and I spent most of my time looking out of the window and observing the landscape and weather. We moved a lot and I got to see almost every part of this country. It was a blessing. It made me aware of the variety and the vastness the US has to offer.”
Weather became the dominant influence on his early landscape painting. “I have always been fascinated by the extremes of weather and the power of nature,” he says. "It is in a constant state of creation and destruction, of origin and destination. With every day, the planet begins anew. Nature seeks equilibrium. It is in a never ending cycle.” Cornell prefers the sublime and meditative observations of land and seascape, the narrative of majestic weather, and somber cloudscapes sweeping across the land and vast empty sea.
Recently his paintings have turned more complex, with dusk and night scenes, streetlights on secluded homes. The visual backdrop has allowed a subtle narrative of mystery and intrigue. “Landscapes at this hour are like ghosts that are unseen during the day, only to be revealed by the strange and myriad ways the night time glows”, Cornell says. These narratives include neighborhoods that mirror the kind he grew up in and the longing he now has to find home. “I spent a great deal of my childhood moving and this has greatly influenced my new work. I am searching for that elusive notion of where I come from and where I belong.”
Cornell has been part of many group, solo, and museum shows since 1997. He now lives and maintains a studio in Orlando, FL.