Corno, Quebec artist Joanne Corneau, aka Corno, dead at 64
“BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.
LISTEN TO YOUR INNER VOICE.
FOLLOW YOUR DREAM.” CORNO
‘I wanted to be huge’: Quebec artist Joanne Corneau, aka Corno, dead at 64 – Montreal
Corno studied at the University of Quebec in Montreal where she obtained a BA in Fine Art turning to a full time painting career in her early 20s. Her first representation was at the Clarence Gagnon Gallery in Montreal.
Corno has had a long and illustrious career that began in the 1980s when she became the darling of Canadian collectors after exploding onto the art scene and taking it by storm with a her full-fledged post-pop idiom that has been her signature style ever since and has in fact blossomed into an art movement influencing several generations of artists.
Corno’s early success propelled her to the international stage and broader recognition. New York City, an irresistible magnet for her, became her spring board to capitals of the world such as New York, London, Paris, Venice, Monaco, Hong Kong, Singapore, Seoul and Dubai through her represention by Opera Gallery.
Today, her international success is enviable. With spirited dichotomies, she flamboyantly combines meticulous figurative details and explosive gestural movements that have a bold contemporary resonance. Her colors are brilliant and frank giving additional bounce to her intense textures and generous brush strokes that tickle the eye and awaken the senses.
Corno’s exhibitions have maintained a steady pace for over 35 years during which time she has had little respite going from one high point to another. Her work has reached a level of maturity and assurance that continues to attract new audiences and collectors. With so much wind in her sails, she has also taken the bold step of representing herself with great success at AKA Gallery in Montreal which could lead to further developments of this kind throughout the world.
2013 was also the year that the documentary film Corno directed by Guy Édoin premiered at FIFA (International Festival of Films on Art) and won the Audience Award. Then Opera Gallery Dubai organized A Piece of Canada in collaboration with the Embassy of Canada to the United Arab Emirates and the Consulate General of the UAE. The exhibition brought together three exceptional artists who reflected the diversity, passion, experience and energy of modern Canadian art while celebrating the growing cultural links between Canada and the UAE. His Excellency M. Arif Lalani, Ambassador of Canada to the United Arab Emirates was in attendance.
2006 was a turning point when AKA Gallery opened in Montreal and began representing Corno’s works exclusively in Quebec. The event made the evenings news on most of the major networks. Early in the year, she had been the guest artist of the Cirque du Soleil for the premiere of Alegría at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall in London. She also exhibited at Opera Gallery London and Hong Kong, and Left Coast Gallery in Los Angeles where here works had the effect of a sonic boom.
Vivid colors, explosive energy, restless passion and defying attitudes are all but words to describe what we feel when looking at a Corno painting. By masterly working lights, shadows and colors together on larger-than-life canvases, Corno breathes life into her work. The results are paintings that command you to stop and feel the emotion they exude. With her pulsating energy and unapologetic brushwork, Corno’s mighty torsos, swollen lips and buttocks threaten to break from their canvases. The New York publication ARTspeak described her as being “a contemporary expressionist with a flashy post-Pop sensibility”. Corno runs from one side of the canvas to the other, painting art that is a quirky blend of Warhol’s portraits and Michelangelo’s torsos topped off with a splash of Pollock’s spontaneity. “ Life is full of contradictions, ” says Corno. She coarsely expresses her opinions. Without any doubt, this forthrightness transpires into her paintings, playing into a world of paradoxes- ‘tender and violent,’ ‘careful and sudden,’ ‘fine and strong.’
Corno ‘s passion brought her an established reputation in Canada, but Corno wanted more. In 1992, beckoned by the call of greater achievements, she moved to New York City. She left behind security and found herself in a city where nobody knew her. Today, Corno is amongst one of the best selling artists in New York. Her work has been exhibited in groups and solo shows from New York City to San Diego, Vancouver, Boston, Toronto, Philadelphia and Paris.