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Art in the Age of Technology

Sandra Elien

On Tuesday, March 8, 2011, the Art Department presented the second lecture in “The Artist’s Role in Society Lecture Series,” featuring April Gornik on American Landscape and the Challenge of Eco-Spirituality. April Gornik is a prominent contemporary landscape painter, who discussed her role in representing the natural world in our era of technologically mediated experience. Gornik also discussed how it felt having her work included in many leading museums and the topics raised during the “Questions and Discussions.”

Gornik informed the Pioneer about her role in representing the natural world in our era of technologically mediated experiences stating, “I think that there is a cultural problem developing in terms of our being inundated with easy imagery, based mostly on the availability and glut of photographic images in our culture, that is causing an insensitivity to material and scale, the two things that make art, and in my case painting, powerful and important.”

In addition to commenting on the position she has on expressing the natural world, Gornik added that she, “used Photoshop on my computer to sketch and compose images to paint, and that there is an essential irony in using such a technologically advanced instrument as a computer to the use of a 16th century technology (painting) to render.” She continued by stating, “Art contains and conveys both a physical and emotional experience that can’t be simply duplicated by something seen on a screen or a snapshot.” Additionally she showed some admired photographs while she was relaying her point of view.

Gornik’s work is included in many leading museums including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, and The Museum of Modern Art, among numerous others. Gornik said that she was “delighted, as any artist would be.” Although the topics mentioned during the “Questions and Discussions” were mainly technical questions about the materials the featured artist worked with, the attendance at the event was astonishing.

Phyllis K. Sullivan, a professor of Art commented saying that the event was well attended. Students from Post also provided their opinions about the event. Senior Dan Forsyth said, “I think using technology we have today is an advantage or will help us capture natural art that should be the focus, it is good that technology can now help us depict the natural world the negative part is that people use the technology to destroy the natural world.” Another student agreed with Forsyth. Hailong Wang, business administration major, said that the natural world depicted in photos “fit the truth [in that] it makes the art of taking pictures more artistic” because the image was not manipulated in any way.

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