Comic books & graphic design inspires printmakers Joe Tallman & Alison Weust in Kortman Gallery “Flat Planet” exhibition opening February 2nd

Flat Planet Press is the combined studio practice of Rockford artists Joe Tallman and Alison Weust. “Flat Planet” is also the title of their exhibition opening Friday, February 2nd in the Kortman Gallery, Downtown Rockford. The title is derived from the two-dimensional nature of Tallman and Weust’s work, as both artists concentrate on hand-drawn, hand-printed works on paper.

Tallman & Weust have found inspiration for their contemporary/retro imagery from comic books, pulp era science fiction, hand-illustrated typography, and even music all with a graphic design sensibility.

Weust is a designer and printmaker who specializes in screen printing and photo lithography.

“I’ve always worked closely with bands and musicians and look to artists like Ray Pettibon,” says Weust. “I also love the the illustrator Daniel Clowes who uses a lot of bright colors in his work and taught me that you don’t always have to use black as your darkest value. I started replacing black with dark blues or reds and I found that it makes my work much more vibrant.”

Joe Tallman is an illustrator and screen printer who creates his art using a hybrid of traditional drawing and inking methods along with digital coloring techniques more commonly seen in modern illustration.

“I’ve always been intrigued by man’s relationship with technology in an ever-changing digital landscape,” says Tallman. “Sci-fi illustrators like Virgil Finlay blew my mind early on, along with comic book illustrators like Dan Clowes, Charles Burns and Adrian Tomine.”

According to Kortman Gallery director Doc Slafkosky the exhibit should be an entertaining and engaging art experience. “Both Joe and Alison have a great sense of visual imagery that’s very well executed, imaginative, colorful and, most of all, fun!”

“Flat Planet” featuring art works by Joe Tallman and Alison Weust opens First Friday, February 2nd from 5:30 to 9pm and will be on display through March 31st. Kortman Gallery is located upstairs at J. R. Kortman Center for Design, 107 North Main Street in Downtown Rockford. For more information call 815-968-0123.

New Ornaments Celebrate Y Log Lodge & Coronado’s 90 Years in Rockford Landmark Ornament Collection @ J.R.Kortman

J.R. Kortman Center for Design introduces two new ornaments to the Rockford Landmark Ornament Collection for 2017, the historic YMCA Log Lodge and a special edition of the Coronado Performing Arts Center, celebrating the theatre’s 90th year.
    “We are honored the Log Lodge was chosen as one of our community’s assets to highlight,” said Michelle Gorham, Chief Advancement Officer, YMCA of Rock River Valley. “Throughout 70 years, this building has played host to many celebrations from weddings to baby showers and more. Community members have made lasting memories in the Log Lodge and we are excited to honor those moments with this ornament.”
    “The Y Log Lodge is one of Rockford’s most intriguing and unusual landmarks,” says Doc Slafkosky, co-owner of J.R. Kortman. “In a way, you could say it’s hidden in plain sight, yet has such a great history and potential for future use because of its beautiful location along the Rock River.”
    The Coronado ornament features a beautiful hand-painted image of the the theater’s interior with it’s spectacular proscenium. The back of the ornament has the number “90” painted with stars representing the theater’s starlit ceiling.
    The original image for the Y Log lodge ornament was a commissioned painting created by Rockford artist Jeanne Ludeke and the Coronado was based on an image by Rockford illustrator Dean Munson. Both ornaments are limited edition deluxe versions, hand-painted inside larger glass spheres than previous ornaments and presented in a elegant midnight blue velvet gift box. The cost is $28. each.
      “We took those images to Beijing where the artist who hand-paints each ornament was able to transpose them on the inside of a clear ornament sphere, utilizing an ancient Chinese folk art technique” said co-owner Jerry Kortman. “It’s fascinating to see how our artist communicated visually with the Chinese artist through the language of art.”
     For more than 19 years J. R. Kortman Center for Design has been featuring hand-painted ornaments depicting Rockford landmarks sold year round at the downtown Rockford concept store and gallery.
    The Log Lodge ornament can also be purchased at all three YMCA facility locations. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the ornament at YMCA locations will help with renovation costs of the Log Lodge. Updates will include exterior renovations, log repair, lighting, flooring, windows and more.
        Besides the Log Lodge and Coronado “90” ornaments, the Rockford Landmark Ornament Collection includes the Prairie Street Brewhouse, East and West High Schools, St. Anthony Church, Blackhawk Statue, “Symbol” sculpture, two views of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Laurent House, a special edition of Memorial Hall,, and the North Main Street Armory. Other ornaments available in the Landmark Collection include, the Beattie Park Gazebo, the Faust Landmark Building, Coronado, and Midway Theater Buildings, the Woodward Governor building, and the Sinnissippi Burr Oak Tree.  Over the past 15 years the “Symbol” ornament has been the best selling ornament in the collection.
    “Other top sellers include four ornaments depicting different scenes of the beautiful Anderson Japanese Gardens and Nicholas Conservatory,” says Slafkosky.
    In addition to the Swedish Historical Society’s Erlander Home, other historic houses in the collection include the  “Limestone Mansion,” home to the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois, and the “Cobblestone House,” located at 2127 Broadway, one of Rockford’s oldest houses.    
    All the Landmark ornament images are individually hand-painted on the inside of a glass sphere, utilizing an ancient Chinese technique originally applied to “snuff” bottles. Each collectable ornament is a miniature work of art.
For more Info contact Doc or Jerry at 968-0123.

"Hometown Holiday" & Rockford Landmark Ornaments @ J.R. Kortman: Two Great Rockford Christmas Traditions!

Two Rockford holiday traditions: J.R. Sullivan's "Hometown Holiday" and Rockford Landmark Ornaments! Purchase "Hometown Holiday" tickets @ J.R. Kortman and see the two new deluxe editions of the Rockford Landmark Ornament Collection, the historic riverfront YMCA Log Lodge & beautiful Coronado interior 90th anniversary..both come in an enchanting blue velvet gift box. Add to your collection! And,they also make great collectable holiday house gifts that will be treasured for a lifetime!

Artists Alex Krueger & Drew Helge bring unique perspectives in art glass to in Kortman Gallery holiday exhibition

    Chicago artist Alex Krueger and Rockford artist Drew Helge approach the medium of glass from two entirely different perspectives, both bringing their fresh, exciting, and unique sensibilities to art glass works to a new Kortman Gallery exhibition titled, “Glow: emerging perspectives in glass.”
    “Glow” brings two exciting artists together in our first ever glass show in the Kortman Gallery,” says gallery director Doc Slafkosky. “Their works make you see glass as an art form that dazzles and challenges your imagination with the sparkle and warmth that only the medium of glass can do.”
    Drew Helge is a sculptor with over 10 years experience working in glass, producing mixed media work in his studios in Rockford and Chicago.
    "I am intrigued by pushing the limits of the material,” said Helge. “I work with glass, ceramics, and metal. With glass there is a beautiful interplay between form and texture, light and shadow. My philosophy as a maker is to accentuate the nature of the material I'm working in. As a designer I'm fascinated by creating dynamic spaces, and as an artist I'm driven to experiment.”
    Alex Krueger has work and educational experience with Pilchuck Glass School, Seattle Glass blowing studio, Chicago Hot Glass and a 2016 scholarship  recipient to study under American Studio Glass artist Therman Statoms.
    “My approach to the material is pretty innocent,” says Krueger. “I work in a way that is easily available to me: glass and paint.  The combination of the two creates faux finishes resembling plastic and enhances the paint through the optics of the glass.”
    Krueger is also currently teaching high school level glass programs in Chicago at Little Black Pearl Art & Design Academy.
    The Kortman Gallery exhibit “Glow: emerging perspectives in glass” featuring art glass by Alex Krueger and Drew Helge opens Friday, November, 17th from 5:30 to 9pm and will be on display through January 6th, 2018. Kortman Gallery is located upstairs at J. R. Kortman Center for Design, 107 North Main Street in Downtown Rockford. For more information call 815-968-0123.

Icelandic artist Brynhildur Guðmundsdóttir's Kortman Gallery exhibit continues through November 15th

There is till time for you to see the beautiful paintings by Rockford University graduate Brynhildur Guðmundsdóttir, upstairs in the Kortman Gallery. Her exhibition titled, "life still/in motion" will be on display through November 15th. Here are some images of her gallery show and her Reykjavik studio where she has been influenced by the captivating Icelandic environment.