Saturday, June 18, 2011

Peer Challenge and Homage to Joseph Cornell

I've been blessed to be able to be part of a group of Assemblage Artists on Facebook, and there was a recent peer challenge put out ... to make an assemblage in the style of Joseph Cornell.

Joseph Cornell (1903-1972) lived a fairly reclusive life. His father died of a blood disease in Joseph’s early teens, and his younger brother developed a severe form of cerebral palsy at age one. Joseph devoted himself to taking care of Robert, his younger brother, until Robert died at age 54. The two siblings lived with their mother in a single-family home in Queens, New York.

It has been written, that it was for the amusement of his brother, that Cornell began making little assemblages in boxes, in the early 1930s. Inspired by the collages of Max Ernst and other early surrealist works, he began a voyage of discovery that would consume him for the next four decades. He was an avid collector of the ready-mades of the time: souvenirs, toys, and cast-offs such as corks and empty tins. These objects he would assemble within box frames, to create three-dimensional tableaux. His artistic sensitivity and vision were such that what took form were not mere "memory boxes" but a kind of museum of his unconscious mind. His boxes have also been described as "toys for grown-ups".

An article on Cornell, from The New Yorker:
Though Cornell was isolated neither in his work (more people came out to Flushing than visited Max Beerbohm in Rapallo) nor in his art (he had galleries and collectors from early on), he was isolated in another sense, by choice. He had discovered the joys of solitary wandering. Beginning in the early nineteen-forties, his life was structured by a simple rhythm: from Queens via the subway to Manhattan, where he walked and ate and watched and collected, and then back home to the basement and back yard in Queens, where he built his boxes, talked to his mother, and cared for his brother. The flaneur and the recluse were equally intense. Cornell chose to be that classic New York thing: a walker in the city.

Cornell's three dimensional boxes under glass are something we peer into rather than simply observe. His boxes contain things, collage elements, found objects, depths and surfaces, multiple textures. His assemblage art has the viewer enter into the work as we look at the many aspects of it.

I LOVE his assemblages and have been inspired by them, so I was hoping to have some inspiration to do this challenge too.

My Cornell inspired assemblage took a few elements from Cornell's boxes, the wine glass with an item in it, a bird, drawings in the background, and more.

Here is my homage to Cornell (my offering for the peer group challenge) ... "Take Me Out To The Ball Game".. it was a fun piece to do, and I am already thinking of more cool Cornell-ish assemblages to try to make... now if I could just find a long thin box, and a pool stick..*G*

1 comment:

Maureen said...

Cornell's assemblages are fascinating, and have a lot more meaning than one might think. I spent hours at the last retrospective of his work I visited.

A great inspiration. I'll look forward to seeing more of your assemblages for which you always have great ideas.