Artists Franke & Knott connected by an eye on spirituality and imagination in Kortman exhibit opening February, 7th

When Rockford artist Norm Knott and Door County artist David Franke met, there was an immediate connection, not only with the visual imagery in their work, but also the inspiration behind the engaging pieces they create. They both see the world around them through a spiritual lens that is reflected in their work…both using the eye as a visual theme in many of their pieces.
    The two artists come together in the exhibition, “Eye to Eye: Here’s Looking at You” opening Friday February 7th, 5:30 to 9pm in the Kortman Gallery in downtown Rockford.
    “I look at the eye from the  inside out,” said Franke. “Many people look into the eyes to see your soul, your essence…I’m using my eyes to see my world, and interpret my world.”
    Frank, who lives near Egg Harbor, Wisconsin, creates quirky, eye-catching interactive sculptures and assemblages often with the eye as the focus of the piece.
    It was former Rockford gallerist Charlene Berg who introduced David Franke to Norm Knott while visiting her Gallery X, now in Door County.
    “She immediately saw not only the visual connection in our work, but also our like minded inspiration in our art,” said Knott. “Our work is very different, but their is a definite visual and spiritual connection with our art.”
    It’s this connection that motivated Kortman Gallery director Doc Slafkosky to invite the artists to exhibit together in this two-person show.
    “Eye to Eye” will feature Knott’s personal, wearable art along with his “Normaments,” a term Knott coined to describe his pieces that you could also refer to as “table jewelry.”
    Franke will be exhibiting be small scale sculptural assemblages and mixed media works that he has become known for in the Door County art scene.
    “Eye to Eye: Here’s Looking at You,” featuring the 3-Dimensional, and mixed media works by David Franke & Norm Knott opens First Friday, February 7th, with an artists’ reception from 5:30 to 9 pm in the Kortman Gallery, located upstairs at J. R. Kortman Center for Design, 107 North Main Street in Downtown Rockford. The exhibit will run through March 31st. For more information call 815-968-0123.


5th annual “Naughty or Nice Shopping Party, Thursday, Dec. 19th, 6-9pm...when Christmas shopping is fun!

 You're invited to our 5th annual Naughty or Nice Holiday Shopping Party, this Thursday, December 19th, 6-9pm. Christmas shopping is not only fun, but you can find out if you've been bad or good in 2019 by reaching into Santa's mystifying grab bag. Win a "nice" gift if you've been good, or a "naughty" lump of coal, if you've been bad. Santa knows! And best of all, the Kortman Gallery Bar will be open with master bartender, Jennifer Langworthy!

New Embassy Suites Hotel and United Way anniversary celebrated in Rockford Landmark Ornament Collection now at J.R. Kortman: open M-F, 11-6; Sa, 11-5; Su, 1-5


J.R. Kortman Center for Design introduces two new ornaments to the Rockford Landmark Ornament Collection for 2019. One features the new Embassy Suites Hotel in the historic Ziock/Amerock building,  and the other, a view of the Rock River with the Jefferson Street Bridge. The ornament celebrates the United Way of the Rock River Valley’s 100th anniversary.
    “The Ziock/Amerock Building has been a part of the Rockford downtown skyline for over 100 years” says Fred DeLaRosa, General Manager of the new Embassy Suites Hotel. “The long-anticipated hotel, opening in April of 2020, will be an exciting addition to Rockford’s downtown cultural life. This ornament represents not only a landmark of the past, but also the future.”           
    The second new ornament for 2019, commissioned by the United Way of the Rock River Valley features a view of the Jefferson Street Bridge and the west bank of the Rock River. Also depicted are shadowed figures representing generations of Rockford people who have supported and been helped by the United Way for the past 100 years. The image is based on an original painting by Rockford artist Patricia Burkholder.
     “We took images of the hotel and the river scene painting 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 J.R. Kortman co-owner Doc Slafkosky. “It’s fascinating to see how our artist communicated visually with the Chinese artist through the language of art.”
     For more than 20 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.
           Besides the Embassy Suites Hotel and United Way river scene ornaments, the Rockford Landmark O.rnament Collection includes YMCA Log Lodge and Coronado  Stage, 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.
    The ornaments are available for $25 exclusively at J.R. Kortman Center for Design, 107 North Main Street, Downtown Rockford



The purse is more than a fashion statement in Kortman Gallery holiday group exhibition , now through Jan 4th

 
  The Purse: it’s a functional object, fashion statement, a private space, and even a status symbol. And Friday, November 22nd, the purse is a work of art when more 30 Rockford artists present their visual interpretation of the purse in a holiday group exhibition titled “The Purse: art, design, fashion, function” in the Kortman Gallery.
    The exhibit will feature works in a variety of media from ceramics, fabric, watercolor, and painting, to sculpture, printmaking, digital imagery, and functional objects.
    “We thought it would be interesting to merge fashion and art in this gallery commissioned show,” said Doc Slafkosky, gallery director. “The purse has not only a practical aspect, but also a long history of being an expression of design and prestige from folk art to haute couture. It’s exciting to see how this diverse group of artists takes this idea and interprets it in their specific medium.”
        Seeing this exhibition is sure to be a fun, entertaining, and thought provoking experience says co-owner Jerry Kortman.
       ”Artists have taken the purse theme and made it their own,” said Kortman. ”From artist Becky Pelley’s nod to Magritte, to Kyle Wolfe’s whimsical and colorful digital imagery to R. Scott Long’s hand-made leather functional purse to John Deill’s 3-D assemblage, there will something for everyone.”
    Ceramic artist Lynn Fischer-Carlson says she is intrigued by the purse and how it has become both a fashion statement and a status symbol for women…and men. “My ceramic sculptural purses are titled “Vanitas” in reference to a visual art genre which often characterizes still life works with contrasting symbols of wealth and the futility of excess and greed.”
    “A woman’s purse has always been considered a private, personal space. You would never let anyone look into you purse without permission,” said Margret Hynes who created a purse that is ironically made of see-through mesh material.  
    Participating artists include Alison Weust, Andrew Harlan, Alex Taylor, Balta Ramirez, Becky Pelley, Betsy Youngquist, Brian Hierstein, Carmen Turner, Carrie Johnson, David Menard, Elizabeth Horvath, Ellie Pinzarrone, Jacob Polhill, Javier Jimenez, Jenny Mathews, Jeremy Klonicki, Jesus Correa, Joe Tallman, John Deill, Kelly Steward, Kyle Wolfe, Laura Gomel,Lisa Jimenez, Lynn Fischer Carlson, Margret Hynes, Michelle Dorr,  Molly Carter, Norm Knott, R. Scott Long, Rene Zavala Castanedas, Sarah Reed-McNamara, Sherrie Dorr, Una Ryan, and Valerie Olafson.
    “The Purse: art, design, fashion, function” group exhibition in the Kortman Gallery opens with an artist’s reception on Friday, November 22nd from 5:30 to 9pm. The gallery is located upstairs at J. R. Kortman Center for Design, 107 North Main Street in Downtown Rockford. The exhibit, which is free and open to the public, will run through January 4th, 2020. For more information call 815-968-0123 or visit www.jrkortman.com.

Art, Design, Pop Culture infiltrates artist Jacob Polhill’s Kortman Gallery exhibition, now through November 16

Artist Jacob Polhill grew up in a world surrounded by the visual excitement of pop culture through social media, video, print, and consumer products. His Kortman Gallery exhibition “Out of the Box,” opening Friday, October 4th, translates the lexicon of street art, contemporary and vintage cartoons, consumerism, and the media into colorful bold art and design in paintings, posters, and 3-D objects.

“I love to create my 2-D works using bright, vibrant, eye catching color palettes. Colors have feelings, they evoke emotions. They can literally vibrate next to each other if you use them the right way.”
Polhill, a Rockford native, is an emerging artist and designer who is currently based in Chicago and studying Industrial Design at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
His Kortman Gallery exhibition will feature not only his bold, imaginative paintings, but also 3-D objects. In 3-D dimensional design, Polhill says he is studying how to make objects and systems more beautiful to make people who use them have a better experience.
“People don’t realize this, but beautiful objects that have been studied for their aesthetics, aren’t just about making something beautiful, but also something functional. I believe people think that beautiful objects actually work better, even if they’re essentially the same object as something that is not as aesthetically pleasing”
Polhill doesn’t shy away from a challenge. Besides creating his drawings and paintings with his “bubbly creatures” and his studies in graphic and industrial design, he also dabbles in photography, video, and merchandise design for his friends who are musicians.
“We are thrilled to be exhibiting Jacob’s exciting work in the Kortman Gallery,” says Doc Slafkosky, gallery director. “His work is vibrant, visually exciting, and refreshingly entertaining. We think he’s has a great career ahead of him in art and design.”
Polhill says he spent a long time trying to fit himself into a box. That’s why now he’s just creating and being himself, “Out Of The Box.”
“Out of the Box” exhibition by Jacob Polhill in the Kortman Gallery opens with an artist’s reception on Friday, October 4th from 5:00 to 10pm and Saturday, October 5th, 4:00 to 9:00pm, Fall ArtScene weekend.  The gallery is located upstairs at J. R. Kortman Center for Design, 107 North Main Street in Downtown Rockford. The exhibit will run through November 16th. For more information call 815-968-0123 or visit www.jrkortman.com.