Chairs have been a part of every day life since the dawn of civilization. They have evolved from not only a purely functional piece of furniture, but also a statement of design, social strata, and comfort. For centuries the chair has appeared in works of art from ancient Egyptian scroll paintings to works by classical masters to modern day paintings and sculpture.Kortman Gallery has invited twenty-six artists who work in different styles and media to create works of art inspired by the chair. The exhibition titled, “Sit. Chairs as Art” opens Friday, November 18th from 5:30 to 9pm in the downtown Rockford Kortman Gallery.
“All twenty-five of these imaginative, accomplished artists have created works that either visually depict a chair in a painting, ceramics, photography, or sculpture…and some are actually functional chairs,” said gallery director Doc Slafkosky.
Clay artist Lynn Fischer-Carlson said she welcomes the challenge of creating a piece for a show that has a designated theme.
“It compels you to apply your artistic skills often in different ways,” says Fischer-Carlson. “You want to participate in the theme without sacrificing your own aesthetic vision or style.”
One of the inspirations for this exhibition was to recognize the 20th anniversary of the creation of “The Big Chair” by Rockford artist, Jim Julin who passed away in 2012.
“Jim created the chair for a Kortman Gallery exhibit in 2002,” said Slafkosky. “He built the large scale sculpture to honor his Rockford Swedish furniture manufacturing heritage. The Big Chair was placed on the then downtown mall in front of our gallery. It was acquired by Lon and Dick Behr and donated to the Rockford Art Museum’s sculpture garden where it stands tall today on North Main Street.”
Participating artists include Zoa Ace, Stephen Warde Anderson, Lynn Fischer-Carlson, Molly Carter, Jesus Correa, John Deill, Michelle Dorr, Fatherless, Roni Golan, Laura Gomel, Brian Hierstein, Jane Peterson Hooker, Lisa Jimenez , Carrie Johnson, Jeremy Klonicki, Jenny Mathews, Robin McCauley, Nancie King Mertz, Valerie Olafson, Jacob Polhill, Jane Weis Proudfoot, Louis Recchia, Joe Tallman, Alison Weust, Brett Whitacre, and Kyle Wolfe.
Meet the artists at the Kortman Gallery opening reception for “Sit. Chairs as Art,” a holiday group exhibition is Friday, November 18th 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 is free, and open to the public. The exhibition will run though January 14th, 2023. For more information call 815-968-0123.