Lionel Cormier was born in 1944 in Colette, New Brunswick. His family moved to nearby Moncton in 1946, where he attended the Technical School. He worked for many years as building inspector (electrical, heating) then as an underwriter for an insurance company, and painted during his free time. Since 1993, painting has become his only profession.
Cormier is essentially a self-taught artist, but he has taken a number of courses in visual arts at Université de Moncton, and at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick. The representation of a subject is of no interest to him in his art, he states, and he does not strive to send a message with his art. He refuses to be pigeon-holed as an abstract painter, preferring to see emotion transpire through his work.
The first Acadian artist to be invited for a six-month period in Poitiers, France, Cormier shared a studio with Poitou artist Jean-Pierre Nestler. He returned for a second residency a short time later.
Cormier also works in print-making, although he considers himself a painter first and foremost. He was chosen for a Quebec-New Brunswick exchange project in 1997, to create prints at the Engramme print studio in Quebec City.
Writing to introduce one of his exhibitions, Cormier says that “the work of art fulfills our need for interaction, slakes our thirst for the creative power of silence … reaching silence through our greater closeness with and discovery of all that the universe contains. I invite you to discover part of this silence in these works of art…”
Since 1984, Lionel Cormier has exhibited many times in New Brunswick, Ontario, and France. His works are included in the collections of the Canada Council Art Bank, the New Brunswick Art Bank, the Galerie d’art Louise-et-Reuben-Cohen of Université de Moncton, the University of New Brunswick, in Fredericton; Assomption Vie, in Moncton; NBTel; the Toronto-Dominion Bank, Financière Banque Nationale, in Moncton, the City of Moncton, as well as in private collections.