There are several reasons why I chose to take such a long journey to see this exhibit. I've always felt an affinity with April Gornik's work and have seen her work in magazines, books and online, but I had never seen her work in person, so I had no real sense of the scale or texture or what the brushwork might be like. Also, this exhibit includes work covering a timespan from 1987 to 2009.
In person the paintings reveal some layering in the broad areas where sections of color below show through and influence the top layers. Often in photographs of artwork dark areas of paint seem to read as black, but I saw a great variety of color in the darks including dark blue greens and yellow greens. Another observation was of the slightly built up texture in the foregrounds. I found the brush strokes wonderfully loose and free in many areas, which was somewhat unexpected as I had been interpreting her rendering of forms as being more tightly painted. There was as well as a nice combination of soft and defined edges overall. The scale of the work - all are roughly between 5 to 6 feet high and 6 to 10 feet wide - gave me the feeling that I was looking out of a very large window, or standing before the actual landscape itself, depending on the angle.
Some reviews state that there are 13 paintings in the exhibit, however I counted 12. There was also a large photograph of April, taken in her studio by her husband, Eric Fischl.
The paintings included in the exhibit:
1. Fresh Light 1987
2. Mirror Lake 2004
3. Suspended Sky 2004
4. Lightning at Twilight 1993
5. Turning Waterfall 1997
6. Red Desert 2008
7. Field and Storm 2004
8. Sun, Storm, Sea 2005
9. Storm at Sunset 2000
10.Rising Moon 1991
11.Twilight Dawn 2009
12.Marsh Waterway 1998
Twilight Dawn is the most recent. Just finished in January this is the first time it has been exhibited.
Five of the paintings can be viewed at the Heckscher Museum's website.
Benjamin Genocchio review in New York Times: An Eye For Landscapes That Transcend Nature
Oh That's Mine! Conversation with Robert Ayers
Perusing the exhibit:
The Luminous Landscapes of April Gornik
May 2, 2009 - July 5, 2009
The Heckscher Museum of Art
2 Prime Avenue
Huntington, New York 11743-7702