Witnessing an Artist’s Dream Come True : Corno Hanging with Warhol

Nick and I went back to the C9 Art Gallery in Yorkville, where we got the chance to see the fulfillment of an artist’s dream.

You may recall this story from March, which told about a new Toronto gallery and some paintings we saw there by the French Canadian artist Joanne Corneau, aka “Corno”.

I was not previously familiar with this painter, but loved her stunning large scale pieces. There was a portrait of Andy Warhol amoungst her works, which, combined with her colour choices and composition, made it evident that she was inspired by him.

While at the gallery, my eyes had continuously drifted back to one Corno painting in particular, a large canvas covered in the image of a woman’s face in close-up, with bright yellow hair and sparkling eyes partially hidden behind half-closed eyelids.

What I didn’t realize during that first visit to the gallery, was that Corno was not a living artist. In writing up my post, I’d looked at her website (here), and her Facebook Page (here), neither of which gave the impression that the artist had recently passed away. I believed that she continued to work in her studio, making more of her beautiful artworks.

It wasn’t until just before attending this second show at C9 Gallery, which featured more of Corno’s work alongside a collection of original lithographed posters of Andy Warhol exhibitions, that I found this wiki page written in English (most of what is written about her is in French). There I was somewhat surprised and saddened to discover that Corno had died from cancer in December 2016, shortly after her 64th birthday.

While I would have been interesting in seeing more of her work no matter what, the fact that I now realized that her paintings were limited to those which already existed heightened my desire to see this show.

Searching around the net, I also found this YouTube video and this one that depict Corno at work, in the midst of creating many of the paintings that now hang at C9.

This was the opening party for a show called “Corno & Warhol” …

↑ With gallery manager, Fifi. ↑

Corno’s stunning pieces hung nearby the Warhol posters was a visual treat in itself, but knowing that this show was arranged by the gallery to honour one of Corno’s dreams, that one day her artwork would be shown alongside that of her artistic idol, made it even more special.

The vintage posters, the most extensive collection of originals in the world, were intended to announce Warhol exhibitions back when he was still alive. They cover real shows held from 1962 until 1987.

↑ One, depicting a red and white soup can, was made for Warhol’s first ever solo pop-art show and the very first public viewing of any of his Campbell’s Soup prints, held at the Ferus Gallery in July of 1962, in Los Angeles. ↑

↑ Another one, made for a show at the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York, in 1982, is autographed by Andy Warhol. ↑

The show will be at The C9 Gallery until July 7th, so you still have a month to go and see it, if you’re in the city. Admission is free.

The gallery is located within a very interesting “historic-meets-modern” building (it’s a wonderful site that I raved about in my previous post about the gallery) at 7 Sultan Street, one block south of Bloor, west of Bay.

You can get to it from Bloor Street by turning south on St. Thomas Street. Or, do what we did and take a scenic stroll eastward along Charles Street West, from Queen’s Park (the eastern exit of the Museum Subway station is right at that corner), and then turn left (north) at St. Thomas Street. Choosing that route takes you by some wonderful buildings that you wouldn’t even know were there, unless you attended the University of Toronto, as they are part of the campus. I didn’t know what was along that part of Charles Street West myself, and was ready to head up towards Bloor Street, until Nick told me about the “secret” way to get to the gallery.

Thanks for reading,
xo loulou