Our next Artist You Need To Know is April Gornik.
A graduate of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (where she earned a BFA in 1976), Gornik was born in Cleveland, OH, has lived in New York City (where she exhibited widely) but is now living in North Haven, Long Island, NY. Her “enigmatic landscapes draw on both plein-air realism and abstracted memories. In her paintings of sea, sky, forests, and horizons, the artist….focuses on moments of transience and calm; her dramatic skyscapes, for example, alternately feature threatening thunderheads, magisterial clouds, and high-contrast sunrises and sunsets.” (from here)
Writing about Gornik’s work for ART / new york Paul Tschinkel offered the following: “April Gornik paints evocative landscapes with roots in minimalism as well as the conceptual avant garde of the 70’s. Her haunted imagery is based on photographs that she manipulates to make highly personal work filled with sensual, sexual and metaphorical overtones.”
Gornik is primarily a painter, but also worked in drawing and printmaking. She has shown extensively, in one-person and group shows, in the United States and abroad.: her artwork can be found in the Dallas Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art (NY), the Whitney Museum of American Art (NY), the Museum of Modern Art (NY), the National Museum of American Art in Washington, DC, the National Museum of Women in the Arts (also in Washington, DC), the Cincinnati Museum (OH), the High Museum of Art (Atlanta, GA), the Modern Art Museum of Art of Fort Worth (TX), the Orlando Museum of Art (FL), and numerous other major public and private collections.
Significant solo exhibitions of Gornik’s work have been on display at the following spaces: the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in conjunction with the University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA, 1998; Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, NY, 1994; the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art, Pepperdine University, Malibu, CA, 1993; and the Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, NY, 1988.
Gornik also had artworks in the 1989 Whitney Biennial in NY, the 10+10 Show of American and Soviet Painters originating at the Fort Worth Museum in 1989, the Art Museum of the Rhode Island School of Art and Design in 1988, and Paradise Lost; Paradise Regained at the American Pavillion of the Venice Biennale in 1984. She was also in the group exhibition at the Museo Grimani titled Frontiers Reimagined, which was part of the 2015 Venice Biennale, and her work was part of Seeing Nature, a show of Paul Allen’s collection featuring Monet, Klimt, Turner, Canaletto, Hopper, O’Keefe, Richter, Ruscha, Hockney, and other great landscape painters. This was first at the the Portland Museum in Seattle before travelling to the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MI), and at the New Orleans Museum of Art (LA) before closing at the Seattle Art Museum (WA) in 2017.
A mid-career retrospective began at the Neuberger Museum of Art in Purchase, NY in early fall, 2004. It traveled to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, the Sheldon Memorial Art Museum in Nebraska, and its final venue was the Allen Memorial Art Museum in Oberlin, Ohio, from March–June, 2006. Another retrospective took place at the Heckscher Museum in Huntington, NY, in summer 2009.
Since the early 1980s, Gornik has had numerous one-person shows in New York.
Gornik lists among her artistic influences artists such as Barbara Takenaga, Francesco Clemente, David Salle, Anselm Kiefer, Amy Myers, and Matthew Ritchie. Gornik is also married to American painter Eric Fischl, who she has also said has influenced her aesthetic sensibility.
A selection of honours that Gornik has garnered include a Lifetime Achievement Award from Guild Hall Museum in 2003, and she was the Neuberger Museum’s Annual Honoree in 2004.
Two publications of her work have been produced: APRIL GORNIK: Paintings and Drawings, by Donald Kuspit is from 2005. This monograph is from Hudson Hills Press, in conjunction with the Neuberger Museum of Art which also is a catalogue for the aforementioned mid-career survey which started at the Neuberger Museum of Art in Purchase, NY, in 2004 and ended at the Allen Memorial Art Museum in Oberlin, OH, in June 2006. There are approximately 140 full-color plates of paintings and drawings, from 1980 to 2004, with an essay by Donald Kuspit and an interview with Dede Young, Curator of Contemporary Art at the Neuberger. In 2014, April Gornik: Drawings (with essays by Steve Martin and Archie Rand, an interview with Lawrence Weschler, and a downloadable composition for piano and cello by Bruce Wolosoff) was published by FigureGround Press (distributed by ARTBOOK D.A.P.).
In writing about her work, Gornik offers the following: “I have always loved nature. It’s fundamental to my spiritual being, and helps me locate and define myself in the world, and that is central to my work itself. Nature is everything I am not, the ultimate Other. I also deeply believe in safeguarding life other than ours, that of plants and animals, and that we should be sharing, not overwhelming, the earth.If someone interprets my work as being a protest against our destructive behavior, or an attempt to get people to look outside themselves or see themselves as part of nature rather than having an anthropocentric view, I’m happy to have encouraged that.”
A more complete listing of her exhibitions and accomplishments can be seen here.