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.