Love and Art Are Intertwined for These Four Artist Couples
April Gornik and Eric Fischl, Naima Green and Sable Elyse Smith, David Brandon Geeting and Lina Sun Park, and Ian Lewandowski and Anthony Cudahy share their thoughts on love and loving another artist with CULTURED for Valentine's Day.
April Gornik and Eric Fischl
While studying at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, April Gornik met Eric Fischl, who at the time had just begun teaaching. The two painters immediately hit it off. Decades later, the married artists continue their work—her's, dreamlike landscapes infused with beauty and emotion, and his, a neo-expressionist take on Americana—in Sag Harbor, New York, where they’ve co-founded a community arts center in a former Methodist church from the 1800s.
CULTURED: What is your partner’s work really about?
April Gornik: Eric’s work is about vulnerability, stages of life, tension in interactions, poignancy, emotion, desire, courage, fear, and intimations of mortality.
Eric Fischl: April’s art is primarily about place: the intricacies, complexities, beauty, power, and weather. Place, for her, is the emotional and psychological language of nature.
CULTURED: The best part about having an artist for a partner is?
Gornik: They understand if you’re too involved with painting to stop for dinner! But seriously, it’s being able to communicate with, through, and about art, and recognizing its critical importance to life itself.
Fischl: Not questioning each other's need and necessity for shutting out the outside world while working in the studio. Me-time big time.
CULTURED: The challenging part about having an artist for a partner is?
Gornik: Jealousy, competition, and being really hungry for dinner but patiently trying to wait.
Fischl: Not understanding why they’d rather be alone in their studio struggling to make sense and meaning out of the chaos of life over sitting together in the kitchen talking trivial bullshit, or not talking at all but just doing Wordle.
CULTURED: How has your partner affected your own practice?
Gornik: When I saw Eric tentatively making representational art when we first met, it felt like a brave allowance to explore it, although I didn’t for some time. He used figures on a flat ground, and I wanted to depict space and light when I first started making landscapes, so we got off on slightly different footings. I was excited about the emotional impact of his representational work, after living in the emotionally uninflected art I’d been trying to make as a student. Early on, we were watching and seeing each other making work in realms that had been taboo for artists in the recent past, so I think we probably gave each other courage. And we certainly gave each other support. That’s a priceless gift.
Fischl: April is the first person I show, what I hope, is my finished painting. She knows my work intimately, and knows what I am capable of. She knows if I’m hitting my marks or phoning it in. I don’t seek her approval. I seek her eye.