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.
This year, “Symbol,” Rockford’s iconic grand sculpture by Alexander Liberman, turns 40! To celebrate, J.R. Kortman brings back the miniature “Symbol” souvenirs…available in two sizes. They’re not only cool mementos of our city, but also function as bookends, objet d’art, or a charming votive stand. And best of all, like “Symbol” itself, made in Rockford, Illinois USA!
Tallman & Weust have found inspiration for their contemporary/retro imagery from comic books, pulp era science fiction, hand-illustrated typography, and even music all with a graphic design sensibility.
Weust is a designer and printmaker who specializes in screen printing and photo lithography.
“I’ve always worked closely with bands and musicians and look to artists like Ray Pettibon,” says Weust. “I also love the the illustrator Daniel Clowes who uses a lot of bright colors in his work and taught me that you don’t always have to use black as your darkest value. I started replacing black with dark blues or reds and I found that it makes my work much more vibrant.”
Joe Tallman is an illustrator and screen printer who creates his art using a hybrid of traditional drawing and inking methods along with digital coloring techniques more commonly seen in modern illustration.
“I’ve always been intrigued by man’s relationship with technology in an ever-changing digital landscape,” says Tallman. “Sci-fi illustrators like Virgil Finlay blew my mind early on, along with comic book illustrators like Dan Clowes, Charles Burns and Adrian Tomine.”
According to Kortman Gallery director Doc Slafkosky the exhibit should be an entertaining and engaging art experience. “Both Joe and Alison have a great sense of visual imagery that’s very well executed, imaginative, colorful and, most of all, fun!”
“Flat Planet” featuring art works by Joe Tallman and Alison Weust opens First Friday, February 2nd from 5:30 to 9pm and will be on display through March 31st. 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.