At work in the studio...

Welcome!

New Orleans-based artist Cory Willingham's website and blog offers images of and insight into her paintings. Many of the paintings, drawings, and prints shown below are for sale unless otherwise noted. Please feel free to email comments or inquiries to CORYJAX@GMAIL.COM. Thanks for your interest!

4th and Main

4th and Main
48" x 48", acrylic on canvas, 2011.

After Ike

After Ike
After Ike, oil and acrylic, spackle, and earthen materials on canvas, 72" x 72", 2009 (Private Collection)

F5: Painting the Psychological Impact of Extreme Weather

For my thesis (F5: Painting the Psychological Impact of Extreme Weather) I employ the depiction of extreme weather events such as tornados, hurricanes, and dust storms in a narrative format to move the viewer to the unsettling space that lies between basic instinct and self-awareness. Why and how do we react to such severe and life-threatening storms? These paintings work to define and contain these psychological states within a single moment and shed light on the complexity of human motives and the way we relate to the world around us.

Employing painting techniques such as abstraction, collage, and experimental surface treatments, I explore new possibilities within the narrative tradition. I combine images from sources such as meteorological surveys, psychology textbooks, scientific journals and websites, and personal photographs to create highly textured paintings deeply layered with meaning. By exploiting the unique properties of oils, acrylics, and charcoals, and by embedding within the paint natural materials such as pine needles, rocks, twigs, sand, and moss, and incorporating man-made common household construction materials such as spackle and bead-board panelling, the forms within the compositions and the surface of the paintings become interdependent in the translation of the message.

If you are interested in additional information about this body of work or my thesis, please don't hesitate to email me!




BFA Thesis painting...

BFA Thesis painting...
Dogged, 36" x 48", acrylic, oil, spackle, earthen materials on canvas, 2010.

Dogged (detail)

Dogged (detail)
Thick application of spackle in the foreground of Dogged is used to replicate the chaotic disarray of plywood, lumber, and debris that used to be this man's home before a tornado.

BFA Thesis painting...

BFA Thesis painting...
County Fair, 36" x 48", acrylic, oil, sand on canvas, 2010.

County Fair (detail)

County Fair (detail)
Sand and rocks embedded into the gesso layer of County Fair create a sense of "grit" that comes at you violently in the winds of an approaching summer storm.

BFA Thesis painting...

BFA Thesis painting...
Darrell & Daryl, 24" x 48", acrylic, oil, and sand on wood panel, 2010. SOLD

Darrel & Daryl (detail)

Darrel & Daryl (detail)
These two brothers represent our modern, YouTube-obsessed culture and risk life and limb for the ultimate Kodak moment.

BFA Thesis painting...

BFA Thesis painting...
Almost Home (diptych), 30" x 24" each panel, acrylic and wallpaper on canvas, 2010.

Almost Home (detail)

Almost Home (detail)
Wallpaper embedded beneath the paint is meant to provoke subconscious memories of "home."

BFA Thesis painting...

BFA Thesis painting...
All is Calm, 24" x 48", acrylic, oil, and spackle on wood panel, 2010. SOLD

All is Calm (detail)

All is Calm (detail)
Spackle was applied to my painting surface and then carefully modeled to help build out the billowing advances of the dust storm, as well as the front porch of the vulnerable, quaint home.

BFA Thesis painting...

BFA Thesis painting...
Eunice, 72" x 72", charcoal, acrylic, oil, and earthen materials on canvas, 2010.

Eunice (detail)

Eunice (detail)
Before any paint was applied to the canvas, I worked pine needles, rocks, sand, twigs, and even an unsuspecting ant or two into the gesso to replicate the sort of storm detritus that ends up everywhere after a hurricane.

Eunice (detail)

Eunice (detail)
The surface of Eunice is rich with texture and meaning...

Other weather-related works...

Other weather-related works...
Clearing Up, diptych, acrylic and oil on wood panel, 48" x 48", 2009. SOLD

Ominous

Ominous
"Ominous," 32" x 44", Acrylic on canvas

Chaos

Chaos
Chaos (Lucy I), oil on canvas, 48" x 36", 2008

Isn't Life Grand

Isn't Life Grand
Isn't Life Grand, drypoint, 15" x 22", 2009

FEEL FREE TO CONTACT ME

If you have any questions about my paintings or prints, please feel free to contact me at CORYJAX@GMAIL.COM.

From the Billboard series...

From the Billboard series...
Billboard 1, 18" x 24", acrylic on canvas, 2009

The Billboard Series

My billboard series is based on my ongoing interest in urban decay. I am fascinated by billboards that have been stripped of recent advertising only to reveal subsequent layers from days gone by. In a sense, these patchwork signs seem to me a sort of roadside archeology. From a technical aspect, I am also inspired by the challenge of representing torn paper, rusted metal, and curling, weathered edges frequently seen on these signs.

02-1

02-1
02-1, acrylic on canvas, 18" x 24", 2009 (Private Collection)

ESBY...From the Billboard series

ESBY...From the Billboard series
ESBY, 18"x24", acrylic and spackle on canvas, 2009 (SOLD)

14-2

14-2
14-2, acrylic and spackle on canvas, 24" x 36", 2010

Edinburgh

Edinburgh
Edinburgh, acrylic on canvas, 24" x 36", 2009

Monday, April 21, 2014

"Wonderfully Made" exhibit in one week!

A new exhibit of paintings and glass art will be shown at the Welborn Gallery starting next week. The paintings and the glass art (by my husband, glass blower Nicolas van der Does) explore the nature and concept of heritage, home and how we define our worth. This is an entirely new body of work from both of us and we're so excited to be showing at such an incredible gallery. The opening reception is Friday, May 2, 2014 from 5:30 to 7:30 PM. Admission is free. The Welborn Gallery is located at the Yadkin Cultural Arts Center, and more information is available at www.yadkinarts.org.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Tales From the Road




Tales From the Road was a hugely successful exhibit at the gorgeous Yadkin Cultural Arts Center, nestled in the hills of North Carolina, just north of Winston-Salem. I was honored to show over twenty of my larger narrative paintings alongside glass artist Nicolas van der Does' amazing and colorful works. If you were unable to attend the two-month exhibit, I invite you to check out Nick's website to see what you missed (www.nicolasvanderdoes.com). And I sincerely thank Susan and Stephen Lyons, gallery directors, for their gracious hosting, dedicated efforts with promotion, and exceptional professionalism...you guys are the BEST! Thank you to all who came out for the Opening Reception - what a turnout!! I was particularly honored by the presence of my grandmother, Lucy Willingham. And thank you, especially, to the young gentleman who came with his mom - we spoke at length while I was setting up the exhibit about your budding interest in painting....I hope you're using that brush I gave you...I expect to be at your exhibit one day!

Friday, August 27, 2010

UPCOMING EXHIBIT: September 1 - September 30, 2010


I invite you to join me at Art Walk on September 1, 2010 for the opening of my exhibit "Updraft," a selection of my most recent, large-scale paintings depicting natural forces, extreme weather, and urban decay. The second and third floors of the Main Branch (Downtown) Jacksonville Public Library (on Hemming Plaza, next door to the Museum of Contemporary Art) will feature over 20 of my acrylic, oil, and highly textured works. Additionally, I'm thrilled to be unveiling five new large-scale paintings I am very excited about! Art Walk is from 5:00-9:00 on Wednesday, September 1, but in case you cannot make it to the opening night, the works will remain on display for the entire month of September.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Current Exhibition...


I want to extend an invitation to local (Jacksonville area) friends to visit the Ponte Vedra Cultural Center, where two of my paintings are currently on exhibit in the 2010 First Coast College Exhibition. The exhibit continues through the month, closing on May 28th. I know quite a few of the other artists exhibiting, so I can genuinely brag and say that this is a great show worth seeing. CCPVB is easy to find - from J. Turner Butler east to A1A south - and they're open Monday-Friday 9AM-5PM, and Saturday from 1:30-4:30. Additional information can be found here.

Monday, May 10, 2010

May 10, 2010: Tornado Outbreak...

I have been watching the news, The Weather Channel, TornadoVideos.Net (my favorite storm chase website), and weather radar today as the worst tornado outbreak in a decade broke out this afternoon across the state of Oklahoma. Having just spent a year studying and painting severe weather, I am, of course, riveted by the stories and images that are streaming in tonight. My congratulations go out to the storm chasers who risked life and limb to deploy scientific instrumentation ("turtles") in the paths of the twisters - your bravery astounds me, and your efforts will greatly improve our knowledge about these storms (and increase our chances of predicting tornados sooner and with greater accuracy). At the same time, my heart goes out the the thousands of people who have suffered loss in the wake of these violent funnels....as of 10:30 PM tonight, there are unconfirmed reports of five deaths in two Oklahoma counties. I think about this past year, as I read so many personal accounts of those who experienced tornados, and how I tried to internalize their experiences as I painted my thesis paintings. But I cannot even begin to imagine what it must REALLY be like....how terrifying....how amazing. I am also reminded of several visitors to my BFA Exhibit who asked me (quite churlishly, I might add) why I "like to paint devastation," as if my chosen subject matter is merely violence and destruction. In actuality, I am merely grabbing for something larger than life. The tornados (and hurricanes and dust storms) I paint have an inherent beauty; they are awesome --in the truest sense of the word. They remind us that there is something much, much larger at work in our natural surroundings. They remind us that our connections with our homes and each other are tenuous. And they remind us to appreciate what we have. Tornados, after all, are living, violent metaphors for the efficient manner in which our lives can change drastically, immediately, and without warning. My prayers go out to those effected by the storms today.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

On the Wall...



So only four of the six final paintings made it to the gallery wall (limited space....BIG paintings), but I am happy and proud of my work. I'll post large images of each painting up above the blogs. My Oral Defense was this past Wednesday night. It was terrifying facing the panel and the audience, but explaining my artistic process and defending my work was a joy, nonetheless. And in the end, I think it went really well. Only one final step....the actual printed and bound version of the written thesis, which is due in two weeks. And then...????? Well, that's what you call a BLANK CANVAS.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Thesis Exhibit





My BFA Thesis Exhibit is OPEN! How rewarding to have a year's worth of work up, under the lights, and on display! Due to the size of the wall, I was only able to hang four of the six paintings, so I chose the four I thought were the most successful. The Opening Reception was wonderful....we had a great turn out, and all of the work by my fellow BFA candidates was amazing. If you're in Jacksonville, please feel free to stop by the Alexander Brest Gallery and Museum Monday-Friday, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM before May 1st to view my (and 22 other artists') work.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

SOOOO close to done!




Three....count 'em THREE...of my thesis paintings are DONE. Actually, let's round up and call it four, considering I don't want to touch "Dogged" any more for fear of messing it up. BFA Thesis Exhibit is just around the corner (April 1st)....let the countdown begin!

Art After Dark...



I had a WONDERFUL and successful time at this past Friday's Art After Dark to benefit the Florida Theater. There was a huge crowd, and I enjoyed making contacts and meeting other local artists in the Jacksonville arts scene. THANK YOU to everyone who came out to support me and my work...I'm lucky to have so many great friends!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Countdown to Art After Dark 2010...


Only two weeks left! I have been busy gathering up paintings and prints to exhibit and sell at this year's Art After Dark. I'm not only pulling from my private cache of work, but have begun upwards of twelve new paintings just in the last several weeks specifically for this event. I have a pretty limited space in which to exhibit, but I'm hoping to offer about thirty paintings in all. And I'll try to get images of the new ones posted here in advance!

If you enjoy the theater scene, great art, good wine and food, and live music....mark your calendars and plan to attend! Information is available here.

Friday, February 5, 2010

David and Goliath...



I'm working on an enormous canvas right now....six feet wide, six feet tall. It was abandoned by another artist about ten years ago over in another building on Jacksonville University's campus, and a maintenance guy dropped it in the studio just as I was beginning work on my thesis. I figured, why not use it? The price was certainly right...it was free!

As I was painting yesterday afternoon, a friend came by to see my progress and, noticing the gigantic canvas, said "that's ENORMOUS! How are you going to finish that!?" The odd thing is, I immediately thought of David and Goliath. What's more, I'm actually working incredibly fast on this painting because I'm mostly using very large brushes - some are house painting brushes. Maybe the fact that the canvas is so huge frees me from fretting over the little details.

So here comes the philosophical analogy...The doubters told David, "you can't possibly win! He's too big!" David, on the other hand, thought "no, he's too big to miss!" Maybe we should consider painting on larger canvases more often. If we play it safe and stick to the 18" x 24" pre-stretched, pre-gessoed canvases, we may never know what we're capable of accomplishing.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

An Artist's Obsession...

I suspect I am like many artists who obsess about the details....SOMETIMES. This picture is a sneak peak at one of my thesis paintings, depicting a man and a dog, both now homeless, walking through the wreckage after a tornado has swept through.
Just last night, I finally finished the shirt Scott (I named him after a similarly bald friend of mine) is wearing. The original concept was--yes--a red Hawaiian shirt, which would add a Hopper-esque touch of humor, considering the rather sober scene. But various opinions made me doubt myself...so it became a white t-shirt. Then a garrish orange shirt. Back to white. Back to red. And back to white. I think this poor man went through nine "wardrobe changes" before I finally decided I HAD to go with the original concept. An extremely helpful friend shopped at Salvation Army and Goodwill, and then let me photograph her in this pose with not one, not two, but THREE different Hawaiian shirts on. With reference photos in hand, I finished up the shirt last night.
The funny thing is, with other paintings, I'm not nearly as obsessed about the little details. The enormous 6' x 6' canvas I've just started, for instance, is nearly done.....in two days. While good old Scott up there has been on the easel for seven months. I think artists are an odd bunch, who cannot be convinced that their work "is fine! really!" if that little voice in their head tells them otherwise. If we want to obsess about a detail, then God help those that get in the way of THAT.
Maybe life in general is a little like an artist's obsession......if you can just stand back, far enough from the easel, you realize that one little detail may not be worth all that worry. Unless it's the one thing that makes the whole composition sing.

Monday, February 1, 2010

BFA Thesis Work Continues....

I am really happy (really!!) to report that I am on the home stretch with my BFA thesis. I have begun the final painting that will be exhibited beginning April 1, 2010. My thesis involves the investigation of how we (as a modern culture) are psychologically impacted by extreme weather events such as hurricanes, tornadoes, flash floods, and dust storms. Along with a written thesis, I have created a body of work that is narrative in nature, capturing psychologically-taut moments during these storms.

This thesis has taken me close to a year now, and I'm looking forward to the light at the end of the tunnel. At the same time, who wants to be done with something they love doing?? Not I, said the fly.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

2010 Art After Dark

I am extremely excited and honored to announce that I have been chosen to exhibit at this year's annual Art After Dark, one of Jacksonville's premier social and fundraising events, at the Florida Theater. The event will be Friday, March 5th, 2010, from 7 PM until 10 PM. For more information, check out the website.