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April Gornik, Landscape Painter.

January 18, 2009

I drool over April Gornik’s paintings. When I look at her work I have an urge to paint landscapes, they’re so deliciously evocative and lush. I get lost in the vastness of her “spaces” where I feel alone yet strangely connected to the world around me. And like any master of his/her “craft,” she makes it look easy.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1953, April Gornik received a BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design where she was trained as a conceptual artist. After she graduated, she stayed in Halifax for a few months and, as she later remembered, “I had a real honest-to-God vision…I drew out the vision and then I painted it.” She started to paint on plywood and found that the vision had become landscapes. Her work is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Museum of Modern Art; the National Museum of American Art in Washington, DC; the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC; the Cincinatti Museum; and other major public and private collections. She has shown extensively, in one-person and group shows, in the United States and abroad. 

From Artnet and Jim Kempner Fine Art:

Moon Bay, 1997. Etching, h: 26.5 x w: 33 in

 April Gornik, Moon Bay

Gornik lives and works in New York City, where she has been a resident since 1978.

From Artnet and  Jim Kempner Fine Art:

Light and Trees, 1998. Etching, h: 28 x w: 25 in

April Gornik, Light and Trees

In the exhibition “April Gornik: Paintings and Drawings” which was on display at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery in 2005, Dede Young (curator of modern and contemporary art for the Neuberger Museum of Art at State University of New York-Purchase), who organized the exhibition, had this to say:

The relevance of Gornik’s work lies in the fact that she revels in her landscapes at a time when painting and drawing are considered outdated. “Since the mid-20th century art has expanded in uncountable ways, and painting and drawing have been rejected for nearly two decades as lacking in potential to fully express our contemporary world. April Gornik has chosen to maintain a steady process of exploring the vocabulary of painting and drawing as consistently viable and compelling. Rather than bow to the recent trend of artists to seek and make images from urban experiences in a world of mass production, Gornik stays a passionate course, utilizing landscape images and light to reference shared human experience.”

Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, New York:

EDGE OF THE MARSH, 2000-03, oil on linen, 72 x 99 ins.

With light as a primary subject, along with past, present, and future worlds imagined and portrayed with imposing clarity, Gornik puts forth images that are fresh, timeless and lasting. Her compelling relevance lies in the palpable, hand-made-ness of her work. She has said of painting, “It holds within itself the history, time, and tale of its formation, the person looking at it is informed, enriched, and subliminally able to experience all of the above. The object speaks to us in its physicality, a connection and an interface of time and space, intent and emotion.”

From Artnet and Danese Gallery:

Dune Sky, 2007. Oil on linen. h: 70 x w: 81 in

April Gornik, Dune Sky

Ms. Gornik states:

Since being a student who always wanted to have an excuse and justification for every piece of art I made or saw, I have become an artist that values above all the ability of art to move me emotionally and psychically, without answers. I make art that makes me question, that derives its power from being vulnerable to interpretation, that is intuitive, that is beautiful.

From Artnet and Danese Gallery:

Red Desert, 2008. Oil on linen. h: 72 x w: 84 in

April Gornik, Red Desert

John Yau, ARTFORUM, 1/90 
“April Gornick has stuck to the initial attitudes toward both content and style she developed when she first began exhibiting regularly in the early 80s…For the past decade, Gornick has depicted open vistas seen from a distance and veiled in diaphanous light…the balanced compositions evoke an overall serenity—an emotional sameness—that now seems more a habitual attitude than a discovered “actuality” of these imagined places…For all her supposed celebration of the visionary, Gornick handles paint in a manner that is too parsimonious to produce anything more than frail, nostalgic restatements of well-worn motifs…an innocent nostalgia for the theatrical views of the Hudson River School.” 

From Artnet and Danese Gallery:

Storm Field, 2008, Oil on linen. h: 75 x w: 78.5 in

April Gornik, Storm Field

Reviewing April Gornik’s work in 2000 for ARTnews, Hilary Stunda wrote, “Palpable and fecund, Gornik’s paintings embody sensation and sensuality. One can almost feel the chill of shadow, taste the salty air. Conjured from memory, her smooth and dense landscapes are neither realistic nor abstract renderings…Gornik creates a dreamy light that brings the viewer to the threshold of a natural happening.”

From  artnet.com and Danese Gallery

The Horizon, 2008. Oil on linen, h: 76 x w: 76.2 in

 April Gornik, The Horizon

“I’ve always talked about my work in terms of it being fictive and artificial. Artificial has a bad connotation in our society…But my feeling about artifice is that artifice is beautiful and is essential to art.” April Gornik.

See Ms. Gornik’s work at: www.aprilgornik.com.

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