Joseph Cornell is quite possibly one of America’s most innovative artists of whom I’d never heard until this morning (thanks Melanie). His medium: the box. O.k., not just the box; also film, collage, and random objects. It is for the box, though, that we remember him, how he elevated something so forgettable into a surreal snapshot of reality.
Cornell fashioned his first collages, experimental films, and boxed creations in the 1930s. By 1940, his boxes contained found materials artfully arranged, then collaged and painted to suggest poetic associations inspired by the arts, humanities, and sciences. His pieces have been described as romantic, poetic, lyrical, and surrealistic.
Why I love him in particular:
Like Henry Darger, Joseph Cornell was self-taught. His art was an outpouring of himself–his imagination set meticulously on-display in pinned, pasted, and posed collages. There’s something so raw and attractive to me about this type of artist. He doesn’t create art for respect or fame but to fulfill some mercurial inner need to express. Some how, don’t ask me how, this reminds me of this verse:
“The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” - Luke 6:45
O.k., there is really no correlation to what I was writing about and that verse; Justin always accuses me of lack of segue. I’m NOT at all trying to say that because Joseph Cornell produced cool art that he was “good” or even that he did “good things.” But it strikes me as bizarre how many aspects of life seem to, even in a distant way, correlate to the God.