The late Alexander Liberman was well renowned in the world of art and design. Besides being art director for Vogue Magazine, he was an accomplished artists in his own right, creating both paintings and sculptures that are now in collections in places around the world. And one of those places is Rockford!
His iconic “Symbol” sculpture is celebrating its 45th anniversary as a major piece of public art. It had a controversial start when it was placed on the east end of the State Street mall, dedicated in 1978 by Liberman, himself. Although, controversy still haunts the piece, most Rockfordians have developed an acceptance, and many, even an affection for this grand work of art.
In many of his works, Liberman used the color red…a specific red he created known as Liberman Red…which is the authentic color of “Symbol.”
To celebrate the sculpture’s 45th anniversary, the Kortman Gallery has invited 25 Rockford artists to create a piece of art utilizing Liberman Red in their work. The exhibition which opens Friday, November 17th in the Kortman Gallery is appropriately titled, “Liberman Red.”
“I was intrigued about the theme of the show that is just about a color,” said John Deill, one of the featured artists in the exhibition. “Color can be both captivating and controversial, since everyone perceives colors differently. For instance, some people see “Symbol” as red, while others see it as more orange. However, there is no right or wrong when it comes to perception.”
It is this relative and personal perception of color that was the inspiration behind the theme of the exhibition according to Doc Slafkosky, gallery director.
“Rather than have the exhibit specifically about Symbol, we thought we would not limit the subject matter to an object, but more of a concept…and the color red is in itself engaging, if not exciting,” said Slafkosky. “And Liberman used the color boldly, and often in his art. And he did have a specific formula for his ‘red’.”
“We thought it would interesting to let each artist create a piece of work that presents their interpretation of what Liberman Red looks like, with no restrictions on the imagery,” said Slafkosky. “Consequently the artists did not have to include images of “Symbol” in their art work, just the color, Liberman Red. The result is a fascinating exhibition that confirms the amazing creativity and vision that each of these remarkable artists brings to this must see show!”
Participating artists include: Stephen Warde Anderson, Molly Carter, John Deill, Michelle Dorr, Drew Eurek, Fatherless, Laura Gomel , Brian Hierstein, Margret Hynes, Javier Jimenez, Lisa Jimenez, Carrie Johnson, Jeremy Klonicki, Norm Knott, R. Scott Long, Jenny Mathews, Nancie King Mertz, Valerie Olafson, Rebecca Downing Pelley, Nick Cashmere, Joe Tallman, Carmen Turner, Alison Weust, Brett Whitacre, and Kyle Wolfe.
The opening reception for “Liberman Red” featuring works by 25 Rockford artists is Friday, November 17th from 5:30 to 9pm upstairs in the Kortman Gallery, 107 North Main Street in Downtown Rockford. This special holiday group exhibition exhibit will run through January 13th, 2024. J.R. Kortman Center for Design & Kortman Gallery are open Tuesday through Friday, 11am to 6pm and Saturdays, 11am to 5pm. The opening event and gallery are free and open to the public. For more information visit www.jrkortman.com or phone 815-968-0123.