Paul Smith, Arts Magazine, February 1982

Thomas Cornell’s paintings and prints always presented a message… In the early ‘60’s, he portrayed French revolutionary figures clearly out of sympathy with the revolution. He went on to print illustrated broadsides about civil rights focusing on Frederick Douglass, and later painted a large dance of death against the Vietnam War. In the early ‘70’s he made some remarkable images of fiercely feminist nude women,. Thomas Comell offers yet more evidence that representation now is becoming more painterly, more conceptually searching, and less mimetic. He is part of a significant movement to reintroduce rhetoric alongside observation as a function of representation.