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Sonia Cornwall: Fifty Years at the Onward Ranch

Westbridge Fine Art, Vancouver
Sept 22, 2001 - Oct 6, 2001


Washing Day, Onward Ranch (1996),
Oil on board

At 82, Sonia Cornwall is unquestionably the grande dame of art in B.C.'s Cariboo region. Since 1919, Cornwall has lived and worked most of her life at Onward Ranch, an 11,000-acre cattle ranch outside Williams Lake in the central part of the province.

While historically the home has been a predominant setting for women's art, few homes have been a persistent source of inspiration for 50 years. Cornwall's poignant painting feature lots of cattle, the ranches, horses and snow, the rolling hills and plains and the big skies above-all captured in a fresh and uniquely expressive manner. Full of brushwork and thick with impasto, her documentary style is imbued with what the gallery describes as a "pictorial and emotional naivetÈ". Cornwall is clearly deeply engrossed in her subjects, even playful at times, She is completely at one with them to the point where the art and artists appear inseparable.

Sonia Cornwall has been close friends with a number of prominent Canadians including A.Y. Jackson, Joe Plaskett, Herbert Siebner and Ted Lindberg. Many of these people have contributed their insights to her exhibition catalogue.

© Mia Johnson