April Gornik’s large scale landscapes are rooted in observed reality and a world synthesized, abstracted, stored and remembered. They offer the viewer a heuristic experience to explore dichotomies between past and present, freedom of expanse and its circumscription, stillness and the inexorable momentum of atmospheric change. Her canvases, filled with the roiling sea, brewing sky, and mountains that overlook the stretching plains, extend and engage nature’s proscenium. As Karen Lang comments in the catalogue text accompanying the exhibition, Gornik invites us to enter the world of her paintings and breathe, to expand our being in the aesthetic experience of that space.1
To a great extent, these paintings are inspired by Gornik’s recent trips to Namibia and Tanzania. Works such as Dune Sky, The Cheetah's Eye and Red Desert function as eternal mirages of the open African plain—its solitude, enormity, omniscience, and the intrinsic serenity associated with distant lands untouched. It is in this painted space of intimate immensity where dueling weather systems, terrain and sky, and the flooding light and growing shadows collide; where Gornik’s landscape opens out onto psychological experience, broadly defined—the modern experience of loss without a lost object…In the manner of a not yet conscious memory, her landscapes intimate the past and so they stir a sense of the past within us.2
Born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1953, April Gornik received her BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. A recent mid-career survey organized by the Neuberger Museum of Art, SUNY/Purchase, NY, was presented at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax, NS and the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery, Lincoln, NE. Her work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, among others. Gornik has received a Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award from Guild Hall Academy of the Arts, and the Award of Excellence for Artistic Contributions to the Fight Against AIDS from amFAR. April Gornik lives and works in New York.
A full color catalogue with an essay by Karen Lang accompanies the exhibition.
1Lang, Karen. April Gornik. New York: Danese, 2008.