Mari Keeler Cornwell Verified listing Verified

Capturing the essence of femininity.


Capturing the essence of femininity.


    I am a classically trained artist born in Caracas, Venezuela. While growing up, I learned the basics of painting from my aunt, artist Maria Cristina Romero. I was raised with a large family where the majority of the people were and are women. I grew up understanding our importance in a sexist society. My grandmothers, aunts, cousins, and sisters have lived with dignity, achieved their goals and overcome incredible obstacles. My grandmother, Mary Calcaño, was the first woman aviator in Venezuela, and as you can imagine, a great influence on my life. My grandmother Mary and all the women in my life have given me a great foundation to be aware in such a difficult world, have positive self-esteem and understand the importance and power of being a woman. My Venezuelan background included exposure to many local artists, musicians, as well as unlimited celebrations with music and food. I grew up surrounded by color, joy, and warmth. As a family, we moved to the United States in 1989 and I lived my teenage years in Princeton, NJ.

    In 2001, I completed my B.F.A. at Laguna College of Art and Design and embarked on a career in advertising from 2001-2019. Alongside this endeavor, I continued my artistic path by showcasing at global art fairs and local galleries in New York City. Today, I’m not only a working artist, but I also educate young migrant students how to speak, read, and write in English.

    I have a studio in my home where I practice my craft alongside my children playing or also creating. My studio walls are filled with other artists as inspiration. I find myself getting lost when spending any available minute to paint. It’s a place of dedication, reflection, and healing.

    Women will be a theme that I will continue to explore and dedicate my time to. I've been expanding my view of these women by exploring different poses and compositions. I’m currently working on a full-body large painting as well as another headshot portrait. I aim to create an impressive array of women depicted by me.

    Creating portraits of women from diverse backgrounds transcends mere artistic expression; it's a profound homage to their fortitude, uniqueness, and the narratives embedded in their gaze. Each stroke of my brush aims to unveil the inner radiance and resilience that define them. My objective is to encapsulate the very essence of femininity in each portrait, utilizing their gaze to convey a fusion of strength, elegance, and steadfast resolve.

    Reflecting on the influential women who have shaped my life, I felt a deep-seated urge to honor their journeys, challenges, and resilience through my artistic endeavors. Moreover, I sought to pay tribute to all women impacted by global phenomena such as #metoo, the tragic loss of Mahsa Amini in Iran, and the legal milestones like Roe v. Wade, which have left an indelible mark on me. Through portraying women embodying courage, I strive to stand in solidarity and express reverence for all those touched by such events.

    In infusing visual dynamism into my portraits, I draw inspiration from the verdant forests, vibrant landscapes, vivid hues, and intricate tile motifs of Venezuelan architecture, etched into my visual memory. These organic and architectural patterns evoke a profound sense of nostalgia, compelling me to recreate their allure on my canvases. Each element resonates deeply within me, urging me to pursue my passion and conviction—empowering women through impactful art.

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