Art Nerd New York | Los Angeles

Musings on Photorealism, Edward Hopper, April Gornik and A.J. Fries

As many of you know Lori & I are both from Buffalo, NY and we artnerd-it-up the Queen City from time to time.  One of Buffalo’s most notable living artists is A.J. Fries, a photorealist painter whom has exhibited at the Burchfield Penney Art Center, Hallwalls, Big Orbit Gallery, Buffalo Arts Studio, among others.  There’s just something about his paintings that draw me in like an Edward Hopper landscape from the 1920-30s.

AJ Fries' Skyway, 2009 vs. Edward Hopper's Wellfleet Road, 1931 [detail]

AJ Fries’ Skyway, 2009 vs. Edward Hopper’s Wellfleet Road, 1931 [detail]

It could be the old telephone poles and big sky but other artist’s like Robert Adams [featured below] evoke the same quite, contemplative, mood as a Hooper & Fries in my book.  NPR’s The Picture Show had a great story from 2009 about Edward Hopper’s Influence on photography.  It’s amazing to see the longevity of Edward Hooper’s artistic influence over the last 80+ years.  Gallerist Jeffrey Fraenkel is quoted “Edward Hopper’s relevance to American photography becomes clearer with each passing decade.”

Robert Adams, Interstate 25, Colorado Springs, Colo., 1968-72 vs. AJ Fries's Parking Lot 2009

Robert Adams, Interstate 25, Colorado Springs, Colo., 1968-72 vs. AJ Fries’s Parking Lot 2009

This brings me to the photorealism / hyper-realism painting style of AJ Fries, its been around a while (longer than I’ve been alive) and seemed to really take off in the 1980s with Eric Fischl and company.  IMHO It’s Eric’s wife that shines in this space.  April Gornik’s work is a classic example of atmospheric photorealism that does well in today’s art market.   Comparing the last Gorkin Danese show and the last Fries Hallwalls show I saw, I walked away feeling equally satisfied and impressed with the moodiness of it all.

April Gornik's Moonlight at the Shore, 2011Image Courtesy Danese Gallery vs. AJ Fries' Sixteen Skies, 2008

April Gornik’s Moonlight at the Shore, 2011 [Image Courtesy Danese Gallery] vs. AJ Fries’ Sixteen Skies, 2008

On a final note, I’m still obsessed with this water droplet series of paintings by AJ for two reasons 1) I’ve been living in Seattle wayyyyy too long and 2) noone paints precipitation [water, rain, mist, snow] better than Fries.  Antithetical side note, I fully anticipate a Richard Diebenkorn obsessions phase in my future with the launch of Art Nerd Los Angeles!


A.J. Fries, Kitchen Sink, 2006, Oil on canvas, 48″ x 60″

Shower Tile, 2009, Oil on canvas, 24" 30"

A.J. Fries, Shower Tile, 2009, Oil on canvas, 24″ x 30″

Window Study, 2010, Oil on masonite, 4" x 5"

A.J. Fries, Window Study, 2010, Oil on masonite, 4″ x 5″

You can keep on AJ’s Paintings by liking his Facebook Page and if April Gornik is reading this, let’s hang out sometime!

Leave A Comment

Clicky Web Analytics