April Gornik’s oil paintings and charcoal drawings of mountains, prairies, and waterways are populated by trees and boulders, bushes and brush. In her works, the sun is shining or rain is pouring from dark clouds or the moon is casting its rays on the bay beneath. The places she depicts seem far away, physically as well as metaphorically. Whether she has visited these wondrous settings by airplane and Land Rover or only seen them in her mind’s eye doesn’t matter in the end. With color and canvas, she has transformed remote sites into haunting images. Born in 1953 in Cleveland, Gornik attended art school when depictions of nature were distinctly out of fashion. After a brief period as a conceptualist, she found herself, much to her surprise, painting landscapes. A few curators and critics have compared her majestic scenes to panels by the likes of Frederic Church and Thomas Moran. But her work is decidedly modern and far more indebted to the glorious reveries of the Abstract Expressionists. Based in New York and Sag Harbor for many years, she now lives and works in North Haven. At times, Gornik’s colors are subdued and muted, even verging on monochrome. This allows her to stress other aspects of her pictures. To be sure, they aren’t as symmetrical or as tidy as you first think. Above all, as she puts it, “light is the prime mover.” [Phyllis Tuchman]
April Gornik has lived and worked on the East End for nearly twenty years.