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Sherri Cornett

3222 LeeAnn Blvd
Billings, MT 59102, U.S.A.
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Sherri Cornett

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 Artist Statement


I find myself most attracted to art that appeals to the eye but also has a message, that offers an opportunity for self-reflection and has the potential to change a perception.  Art that brings thinking, action, transformation, inspiration and soul into the experience. Art that builds a relationship with the social and political worlds.  Joseph Bueys talked about making art that "scratched on the imagination" and thus caused viewers to become internally active. This kind of art is sometimes described as socially-engaged art, activist art, or dialogue-based art.

The concepts in my work come not just from my head but also from the flow of spirit and my heart's concerns. I agree with those who believe that there are no longer grand narratives to explain the whole world and that each of us must continue to reformulate our questions and seek new answers as we learn and grow. My sculptures are the physical manifestation of these questions and, sometimes, the answers I find in the process. When I am able to include some of the above characteristics - to have a viewer come away with a new experience, a conversation, an impetus for action, I feel my creative self has found a useful purpose.


Chrysalis Series - Mixed media sculptures of enclosed spaces based on Jungian psychiatrist Marion Woodman's concept of creating symbolic protective spaces for ourselves when in vulnerable periods of personal growth. Includes thoughts on protection, retreat, rebirth, rejuvenation and comfort.


Ancestresses & Wise Women - These life-sized welded steel with mixed media representations of female mentors and matriarchs were the result of two events.  While my father was dying, I was reminded of how much of my experience has been influenced by the strong women in my family. Shortly thereafter I was surprised by conversations with younger women who had little knowledge of women's history and little to no mentoring by older women. This lead me to create symbolic images of the many women who had mentored me and gave me another chance to show them my gratitude.

Conversations Among Women - These events were my way of helping to rectify the shortage of opportunity for women of all ages to mentor each other , share perspectives, enjoy the art of conversation and increase collective wisdom.  They occur within the circle of my Ancestresses & Wise Women sculptures. I asked women leaders (professors, judges, activist, legislators, attorneys, business women...) to help me facilitate.  With no particular goal other than sharing lessons learned, sources of strength and stories of success, these conversations evolved organically with respect for each participant's view.

Grottoes - My exploration of enclosed spaces continues with my Grottoes series and is inspired by:  the intensely azure water and reflected light in the Blue Grotto of Capri; the grottoes associated with the Greek oracles; grottoes as garden follies; grottoes as religious shrines; grottoes formed by rock and brush around springs. These pieces are hollowed welded steel/mixed media wall sculptures which create shrines to and include video collages of my observations and meditations on nature.  For now, these images capture characteristics of water found mostly in Montana: flowing streams, ripples, effervescence, cascades… Once completed, I hope to use this series to assist water rights and conservations efforts. 

In development, a project about the brain.

Selected Exhibitions/Events

  • "Hidden Cities Chrysalis" juried into Capturing the Wonder of Women, Women's Museum of Califorrnia, December 7, 2012 - February 25, 2013
  • Skin Muscle Sinew video juried into Woman + Body, Kepco Plaza Gallery, Seoul, South Korea October 13-19, 2012, Gwangju Cultural Foundation's MediaCube 338, Gwangju, South Korea, October 23 - November 6, 2012
  • "Judy" from Ancestresses & Wise Women, juried into Honoring Women's Rights, National Steinbeck Center, Salinas, CA September 8, 2012 - January 7, 2013
  • "Ripples Grotto" selected for Montana Women in the Visual Arts, The Emerson Center for the Arts & Culture, Bozeman, Montana September 9-November 11, 2011
  • Solo Exhibition, "Ancestresses & Wise Women", Hockaday Museum, Kalispell, MT, May 5-June 16 2011Best of Show, "Flowing Streams Chrysalis", WCA San Diego Transformation Exhibition, May 1 - April 30 2011
  • "Hidden Cities Chrysalis" selected for Hidden Cities Exhibition catalog, New Centuries Artists Gallery, New York City, juried by Lisa Phillips, director, New Museum in New York City, February 1-12 2011
  • "Ritual Chrysalis", selected for Sanctuaries in Time Exhibition, Kraft Center for Jewish Life at Columbia/Barnard College in New York City, January 21-March 1 2011
  • President's Award, "Songwriters", From Our Perspectives:  A National Women's Art Exhibition, Oakland Community College WomenCenter, Farmington Hills, Michigan, September 16 - October 8 2010
  • Group show including "Ancestresses & Wise Women", By Design: Threads, Custer County Art & Heritage Center, Miles City, MT June 27-August 15 2010
  • Conversations Among Women, "Women in Activism" held in conjunction with By Design:  Threads, Custer County Art & Heritage Center, Miles City, MT August 10, 2010
  • Solo Exhibition, "Ancestresses & Wise Women", Betty Feves Memorial Gallery, Blue Mountain Community College, Pendleton, OR  January 6-February 5 2010
  • Conversations Among Women, held in conjunction with solo exhibition at Betty Feves Memorial Gallery, Blue Mountain Community College, Pendleton, OR  February 5 2010
  • Conversations Among Women, six events held in conjunction with solo exhibition of Ancestresses & Wise Women at Toucan Gallery and Strong Intuitions: Five Women's Perspectives at the Shed Exhibition Space Level 504, Billings, MT April - August 2008
  • Group show including "Ancestresses & Wise Women", Strong Intuitions: Five Women's Perspectives, The Shed Exhibition Space Level 504, Billings, MT May 2- August 1, 2008
  • Solo Exhibition, "Ancestresses & Wise Women," Toucan Gallery, Billings, MT April 2008
  • "Small Canoe", Annual Art Auction, Yellowstone Art Museum, Billings, MT  2007
  • Solo Exhibition, "Chrysalis", Toucan Gallery, Billings, MT March/April 2006
  • "Cradle", Annual Southeastern Montana Juried Exhibit, Custer County Art & Heritage Center, Miles City,MT 2005


BFA, Sculpture, Montana State University - Billings

BA, Political Science, University of Houston

Professional Memberships/Affiliations

Exhibition Co-Director, Woman + Body, South Korea

Chair, International Caucus, Women's Caucus for Art

Member, UN Rio+20 Women's Major Group Steering Committee

Member, International Sculpture Center

Member, Women's Caucus for Art

Member, WCA International Caucus

Member, Yellowstone Art Museum

Member, National Organization for Women

Member, Montana Wilderness Association

Member, Northern Plains Resource Council

Member, The Nature Conservancy

Member, Montana Human Rights Network

Women's Media Center

Montana Women Vote

Planned Parenthood of Montana