Nick Cashmere mixes unique craftsmanship and imagery in wood for Kortman Gallery art exhibit, April 12 - May 31


Rather than paint, brushes, and canvas, artist Nick Cashmere creates intriguing works of art using unconventional tools applying striking images to wood. His unique mixed media art works can be seen in “Mischiefs in heat and sawdust: works of Nick Cashmere” opening Friday, April 12th in the Kortman Gallery in Downtown Rockford.
    Cashmere’s visual play on words are created with wood-burning tools, precisely cut 3-D applications, and off-beat drawn or photo images. Pulling this off, not only requires an artistic eye, but skilled craftsmanship.
    “The ideas for my work usually starts with a single word or image, something that gives me a feeling or idea that I latch onto,” says Cashmere. “I tend to choose common imagery. My main interest lies in what happens when things are taken and locked into a space with another seemingly unrelated subject.”
    “Nick’s juxtaposition of common images, combined with his unique technique and craftsmanship make his art not only visually challenging, but entertaining,” said Doc Slafkosky, Kortman gallery director. “When we first discovered Nick’s work, we were taken with his unusual wood-burning technique and use of materials. We have never seen anything quite like it!”
    Cashmere has also created new works for this exhibition that are not only visually playful, but have hands-on, interactive components that let the viewer become actively engaged in his art.
    “I want the viewer to not just look at my work, but also experience it,” said Cashmere. “I have several pieces in the show that patrons can actually play with. I hope people will enjoy seeing my work and have some fun at the same time.”
    “Mischiefs in heat and sawdust: works of Nick Cashmere” will open during Spring ArtScene weekend in the Kortman Gallery with opening receptions on Friday, April 12th from 5 to 10pm, and Saturday 4-9pm. The gallery is located upstairs at J. R. Kortman Center for Design, 107 North Main Street in Downtown Rockford. The exhibit will run through May 31st. For more information call 815-968-0123.

"LOVE BUGS"...exhibiton featuring watercolors by Jenny Mathews opens February 8th in the Kortman Gallery...shop J.R. Kortman Tues–Fri, 11-6, Sat. 11-5

When you think about insects, it doesn’t usually conjure up romantic feelings. But Rockford artist Jenny Matthews has created intricate watercolor paintings of bugs, beetles and butterflies in an exhibition titled, “Love Bugs,” opening Friday, February 8th in the Kortman Gallery.
    “I not only loved painting these scientifically accurate beetles and moths, but I think people will love them as unusual, unique Valentines,” says Matthews. “When you look at the intricate details and colors, insects are one of nature’s beautiful treasures.”
    According to Kortman Gallery director Doc Slafkosky, the small watercolor paintings featured in the exhibit are the result of a commission Matthews received from a publisher of children’s text books.
    “We saw Jenny’s insect images on Facebook when she was creating them for the book, and thought it would be great to show the originals in the gallery,” said Slafkosky. “We’ve always been amazed at how many people are intrigued by insects! I guess you could say that people ‘love bugs’.”
    Mathews has teamed up with MainfraiM to create custom frames that present the paintings in a shadow box-like setting to add to the specimen characteristics of her scientifically detailed imagery.
    “Love Bugs,” featuring watercolors of bugs, beetles, and butterflies opens with a Friday, February 8th 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.


Rockford themed ornaments add hometown memories to your Holiday Tree...J.R.Kortman is open Monday-Friday, 10-6, Saturday, 10-5 and Sunday, 11-5 and Monday, Christmas Eve, 10-5

Christmas tree ornaments not only add color and sparkle to your tree, but they are also nostalgic mementos that connect us to family and friends, and, with Rockford themed ornaments, even your hometown.
Since 1998, J.R. Kortman Center for Design has been designing and selling ornaments featuring Rockford Landmarks. The hand-painted glass ornament collection features images of over twenty different local landmarks like Symbol, Coronado Theatre, East and West High Schools, the YMCA Log Lodge, Anderson Gardens, and St. Anthony Church, just to name a few.
This year, J.R. Kortman has designed and created three new wooden ornaments that each feature images of multiple Rockford landmarks. The new environmental-friendly ornaments are made in Elk Grove Village, Illinois.
“Christmas tree ornaments have always been an important part of holiday tradition because every ornament has a story or memory,” says Doc Slafkosky of J.R. Kortman. “Rockford ornaments are not only about civic pride, but local landmarks also come with special memories, which makes them great gifts for family and friends, and also for those who have moved away.”
“The new wooden ornaments are light weight and durable, so they also make great embellishments for your Christmas gift wrapping,” said Jerry Kortman.
Besides the Rockford Landmark Ornament collection, J.R. Kortman has designed 2-D metal “Symbol” sculptures that not only sit on a table or mantle, but can be hung on the tree. The “Symbols” are made in Rockford at Target Laser.
Also new this year, are colorful, unique “Rockmen Gardians,” miniature versions of the endearing sculptures along the Rock River recreation path, designed and 3-D printed by Rockford artist Steve Nofsinger.
  The Rockford-themed ornaments range in price from $7.50 to $28. The  2-D “Symbol” sculptures come in two sizes costing $12 or $24 and the miniature “Rockmen” are $20. each.
J.R. Kortman Center for Design is located downtown Rockford at 107 North Main St. For more information call 815-968-0123.

JingleBling!...a Holiday Jewelry Shopping Party...First Friday, December 7th, 5:30 to 8pm in the Kortman Gallery benefitting the Rockford Art Museum!

J.R. Kortman invites you to JingleBling!…a holiday Jewelry Shopping Party, upstairs in the Kortman Gallery on First Friday, December 7th, from 5:30 to 8pm. 15% of the proceeds from jewelry sold during the event will benefit the Rockford Art Museum. See the latest designs, many one of a kind pieces that just arrived exclusively for J.R. Kortman from the Pearl markets of Shanghai and Beijing and other exotic locations. Our jewelry fashion consultants (Anita Church, Lisa Jimenez, Jenny Mathews, & Elizabeth Horvath) will be on hand to show and model our exciting, elegant, and festive necklaces, bracelets and earrings that will be great for you to show off this holiday season. And guys, for your holiday gift buying, this is an excellent opportunity to see cool jewelry with the help of our models who can assist you in selecting just the right piece. And best of all, the Kortman Gallery Bar will be open with bartender Dennis Horton serving up some holiday cheer! This is the way to shop!!!

P.S. At the same time you can see “Greetings from Rockford, IL USA” a holiday group exhibition now on display in the Kortman Gallery featuring postcard art created by 22 of some Rockford’s most accomplished artists. J.R. Kortman Center for Design is located at 107 North Main Street in downtown Rockford. For more information call 815-968-0123.


Artists Celebrate Rockford by Creating Postcard Art for Kortman Gallery Exhibition, opening Friday, Nov.16

 “Greetings from Rockford, Illinois USA”

Sending “picture postcards” when traveling was once the standard way of sharing your travel experiences with the folks back home. The internet and social media have almost made the practice obsolete. But, it is still just as exciting to receive a postcard form a friend or loved one from a far-flung destination. 
As Rockford’s tourism industry has grown along with a renewed civic pride, a  demand for local postcards is on the increase. For this reason, the Kortman Gallery is presenting original art works of souvenir postcard designs created by more than twenty local artists in an exhibition called, “Greetings from Rockford, Illinois USA.”
This holiday group exhibition featuring Rockford postcard art opens Friday, November 16th, 5:30 to 10pm.
“In the past few years we have actually seen an uptick in a demand for Rockford postcards,” says Doc Slafkosky, gallery director and co-owner of J.R. Kortman Center for Design. “Visitors and local patrons have shown an interest in sending Rockford-themed postcards to distant family and friends. They use to be available at the corner drugstore, but those days are long gone.”
“We created some postcards of our own to fill the need, however, we thought it would be great for artists who make Rockford their home, to create images that not only represent their view of the city, but also celebrate Rockford’s vibrant, bourgeoning local art community,” says Jerry Kortman.
Patrons will not only be able to purchase the original art works, but also the postcards which can be addressed, stamped and mailed right from the Kortman Gallery.
The exhibition will not only feature the artist’s postcards, but the original works of art created by each of the artists featured in the show. Those artists are  Buddah Barrios & Slope, Sarah Bell, Michael Bugler, Jesus Correa, John Deill, Ingrid Dohm, Fatherless, Lynn Fischer-Carlson, Brian Hierstein, Norm Knott, R. Scott Long, Jeanne Ludeke, Valerie Olafson, Rebecca Downing Pelley, Steve Pitkin, Sarah Reed-McNamara, Steve Nofsinger, Cherri Rittenhouse, Joe Tallman, Alison Weust, Kyle Wolfe, and Betsy Youngquist

“Greetings form Rockford, Illinois USA” opening reception is Friday, November 16th from 5:30 to 10pm and on display through January 5th, 2019. The 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 or visit www.jrkortman.com.

Kortman Gallery features works by two artists from Paris’s alternative art space 59 Rivoli: Etsuko Kobayashi & Sebastien Lecca

Parisian artists Etsuko Kobayashi and Sebastien Lecca have an entirely different approach to their art. Painter Kobayashi creates her expressive figurative works on canvas, while conceptual artist Lecca uses the urban landscape to convey his creative vision. But both artist have two things in common: They have had studios at 59 rue de Rivoli in Paris and will be exhibiting their art the Kortman Gallery in Rockford.

The exhibition titled, “59 Rue de Rivoli Revisited” will open Friday, October 5th, ArtScene weekend upstairs in the Kortman Gallery.

59 rue de Rivoli is the address and name of an exciting contemporary arts space in the heart of central Paris that is home to studios of 30 artists. In 1999, the abandoned building was taken over by artists who, controversially, squatted all seven floors. And through their creative energy and persistence, turned the building into one of the most visited contemporary art venues in Paris!

Etsuko Kobayashi, who has maintained a studio there since 2001, has become internationally known for her intriguingly quirky and unparalleled mixed media works. Her art was exhibited in the Kortman  gallery 2004 in an exhibit called “Two Women of 59 Rue de Rivoli” along with Aurelie de la Cadiere.  

Sebastien Lecca, a multi-media conceptual and performance artist, in 2010, created the project, “Awaken the World” (first called "Super Fetus") based on the multidisciplinary repetition of the symbol of the fetus. With this project, through his ubiquitous street art, his imagery became a visual part of the Parisian urban landscape for years. He maintained a studio at “59” until 2017.

“We are so excited to be able to bring the unique and fun works of these two intriguing artists adding an international flavor to the ArtScene and the Kortman Gallery,” says Doc Slafkosky, gallery director. 

“This exhibition will feature small-scaled, accessible art from both of these influential and prolific artists, giving Rockford art patrons a small glimpse into the local contemporary art world in Paris.”

“59 Rue de Rivoli Revisited” opening receptions are from 5:00 to 10pm on Friday, October 5th and 4 to 9pm on Saturday, October 6th. The exhibition will be on display through November 10th. The 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 or visit “59 Rivoli” Facebook page.

“On the Other Side: New Works by Carrie Johnson” on exhibit through August 31st in the Kortman Gallery

Rockford Art Museum curator Carrie Johnson has built an exhilarating and challenging career in the art world selecting and installing exhibitions, lecturing about art, and supporting and working with artists. She has now come to a time in her career where she crosses over to the artist side of the art world, culminating with her first solo gallery exhibition. “On the Other Side: New Works by Carrie Johnson” is now on display in the Kortman Gallery in downtown Rockford.

“After being in the art world for so long, I have felt a need to personally express myself creatively,” says Johnson. “I have been fortunate to be around the creative energy of other artists, who not only inspire, but encourage artistic expression. Now I feel like I’m running alongside or falling in with them.” 

Johnson’s bold abstract works are not only visually striking, but have an engaging tactile quality, a result of her use of textural materials blended with paint and other unconventional surfaces.

“My work primarily focuses on composition and texture,” writes Johnson.  “Although there is greater meaning to each mark that is executed, I prefer the viewer form their own narrative about the piece - translate the mark on their own. None of the paintings are organic. Quite the opposite actually. Each gesture is throughly thought out and very deliberate.”

The July 5th Kortman Gallery opening reception for Johnson’s exhibit featured a live performance of ambient music by guitarist Rick Zillhart followed by cool sounds from Dj BISU (aka Erik Olson).

“On the Other Side: New Works by Carrie Johnson” on exhibit through August 31st. The 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.