Originally pursuing a career path in criminal justice, Rockford artist Braydon Letsinger’s plans changed when he felt called to formally use and pursue his gifts of art-making. As a Studio Arts major, he has created an intriguing body of works that are featured in an exhibition with an equally intriguing title. Letsinger’s “Staring at Strangers: becoming acquainted with humanity through portraiture” opens Friday, June 30th in the Kortman Gallery.
HIs compelling paintings combine traditional, realistic portraiture with geometric, abstract patterns in conjunction with contemporary materials like holographic film, fluorescent paint, and aluminum panels.
“All of my work focuses on what I consider to be the most interesting, but most confusing subject – people and their inner workings,” said Letsinger. “For me, portraiture has been a way to break down barriers to more deeply understand others around me, and to begin to connect my viewers with these painted ‘strangers’ who are more similar to them than they realize.”
Letsinger approached the Kortman Gallery more than a year ago with a portfolio of his work says gallery director, Doc Slafkosky. “The caliber of Braydon’s work showed that he was a serious, and most certainly, talented, aspiring artist,” said Slafkosky. “His unique combination of traditional realist painting with modern, colorful imagery is approachable, while still honoring the painting tradition and keeping his work relevant and fresh.”
The majority of Letsinger’s somber-faced subjects were fellow students and faculty from Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas, where he completed his arts degree. His captivating work utilizes the combination of classic realistic portraits of these “strangers” with abstract, geometric elements to speak into the character of his subjects and humanity as a whole.
“Staring at Strangers” featuring paintings by Braydon Letsinger opening reception is Friday, June 30th from 5:30 to 9pm upstairs in the Kortman Gallery, 107 North Main Street in Downtown Rockford. His exhibit will run through September 30th. 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 phone 815-968-0123.