UPDATE 01/24/16: The talk with April Gornik and Andrea Grover on January 27, 2016 as been cancelled, according to the artist. Updates on programming for the Writers Speak Wednesday series will be added as details become available.

Original Story continues below:

Artist April Gornik will be in conversation with Parrish Art Museum Curator of Special Projects Andrea Grover in the first program of the winter Writers Speak Wednesdays series of free artist and author talks and readings open to the public at Stony Brook Southampton. Gornik and Grover will be the program’s featured guests on Wednesday, January 27, at 7 p.m. in the Radio Lounge on the second floor of Chancellors Hall.

Andrea Grover in front of drawings by Shantell Martin.

Andrea Grover in front of drawings by Shantell Martin.

High on the list of topics the two women will discuss will be “April Gornik: Drawings” (FigureGround Press, 2014), an extensive compilation of charcoal drawings done by Gornik since 1984. Included in this collection of 204 drawings are short introductory essays by Steve Martin and Archie Rand as well as a long, informative conversation with Lawrence Weschler that explores Gornik’s process, subject matter, and aesthetic disposition.

Of interest to writers, in a piece for The Brooklyn Rail, artist and writer Robert Berlind wrote that “Weschler … not only probes Gornik’s early development and responds deeply to the work in question, but also aptly introduces poetry by Kay Ryan, Seamus Heaney, Eamon Grennan, James Wright, and Lao Tzu. These excerpts implicitly make the case for poetry, rather than theory or art history, as the most fruitful resource for discussing visual art.”

April Gornik. Photo by Ralph Gibson.

April Gornik. Photo by Ralph Gibson.

The book also includes an eight-page, handwritten score for a cello and piano composition, “For April,” by East End composer Bruce Wolosoff, inspired by one of Gornik’s paintings. The musical piece is available through iTunes with purchase of the book.

The drawings in the book have been described by the publisher as “lush and wide-ranging in scope and subject,” landscapes that “call out the wild and the cultivated, from the desert to the forest to the sea, and show both the progress and consistency in her evocative approach to drawing.”

In the Brooklyn Rail piece, Berlind noted that in Gornik’s drawings, “water takes the form of the placid reflecting surfaces of lakes and rivers, mists and clouds, unaccountable spouts erupting skyward or mysteriously plunging down. Tumultuous surf and waterfalls cascade forward as though addressing you directly … She sustains representational clarity and nuanced visual transitions by contrasting textures of the dry, granular mediums of charcoal and, in many cases, pastels. This oxymoronic interplay of materials and illusion—dryness signaling water—suggests the metaphorical character of Gornik’s art.”

April Gornik's art has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (1998); East Hampton’s Guild Hall Museum (1994); the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art (1993); and the Parrish Art Museum (1988). She received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Guild Hall Museum in 2003. A mid-career retrospective began at the Neuberger Museum of Art in Purchase, NY, in fall 2004, and traveled to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery in Nebraska and the Allen Memorial Art Museum in Oberlin, Ohio.

As the Century Arts Foundation Curator of Special Projects at the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, Andrea Grover is initiating new models for temporary and off-site exhibitions via the museum’s Platform and Parrish Road Show series. In 2014, Grover received the prestigious Emily Hall Tremaine Exhibition Award for the forthcoming exhibition, “Radical Seafaring,” at the Parrish Art Museum in 2016.

From 1998–2008, she was the founding director of Houston’s Aurora Picture Show, a non-profit cinema specializing in media art and the presentation of multi-disciplinary performances and screenings. In addition to 10 years of film and video programming at Aurora, she has curated film programs for both the Dia Art Foundation and the Menil Collection.

In 2010, she was awarded a Warhol Curatorial Fellowship, jointly hosted by the Studio for Creative Inquiry and Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, to research artists working at the intersection of science and technology. That fellowship yielded the 2011 publication, “New Art/Science Affinities,” co-authored with Claire Evans, Régine Debatty, Pablo Garcia, and the design collaborative Thumb, profiling more than 60 contemporary artists working in maker culture, hacking, artistic research, citizen science, and computational art.

The corresponding exhibition, “Intimate Science,” opened at Miller Gallery in January 2012, and toured to venues across the U.S. “Intimate Science” followed her earlier exploration of artists working across disciplines in “29 Chains to the Moon,” an exhibition curated for Miller Gallery in 2009.

Other writers scheduled for the series include: Paris Review editor Lorin Stein in conversation with former New Yorker fiction editor Daniel Menaker, February 10; poet Gregory Pardlo, March 2; MFA in Creative Writing faculty members Ursula Hegi, Susan Scarf Merrell, Roger Rosenblatt, Julie Sheehan and Lou Ann Walker, March 9; novelist Terese Svoboda in conversation with poet and MFA in Creative Writing Director Julie Sheehan, March 23; Robert MacNeil in conversation with Roger Rosenblatt, April 6; and Erica Jong, April 27. 

On May 4, the evening will be devoted to readings by “the stars of tomorrow”: students currently enrolled in the MFA in Creative Writing and Literature program.

Writers Speak Wednesdays programs are free and open to the public. The evenings begin with a brief reception at 6:30 p.m.; readings begin at 7 p.m., followed by a Q&A and book signing. All programs are held in the Radio Lounge on the second floor of Chancellors Hall at Stony Brook Southampton, 239 Montauk Highway, Southampton, NY 11968.

For more information, call 631-632-5030 or visit www.stonybrook.edu/mfa. On Facebook, visit Writers Speak Wednesdays; to follow on Twitter, @ WritersSpeakWed.


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