Toss pillows become souvenirs of art in Kortman Gallery holiday group exhibition opening Friday, November 19th


 Merchandising collectibles has been an integral part of the entertainment industry for decades. Iconic images appear on everything from T- shirts to lunch boxes. 
    The art world has become no exception to this concept. Images of great works of art appear on a myriad of souvenir merchandise by artists like Picasso, Van Gogh, Basquiat, Monet, and Haring, to name a few.
    Kortman Gallery takes this idea of merchandising images of fine art as an inspiration for a new exhibition called “Pillow Talk: Souvenirs of Art,” a holiday group exhibition opening Friday, November 19th. The show presents original works of art along with their images reproduced on toss pillows. Twenty-six accomplished artists from Rockford and beyond are featured in this unique exhibit.
    “A toss pillow makes a great ‘canvas’ for fairly accurately reproducing an image,” said Kortman Gallery director Doc Slafkosky. “The pillow becomes not only a unique keepsake, but a functional object that can be a cool home accent.”
    Artists were invited to submit an existing piece or create a new work for this show.
    “I usually work in ceramics,” says artist Lynn Fischer-Carlson. “The invitation inspired me to create a new abstract painting that I thought would look cool on a pillow”
    Rockford artist Drew Eurek, who creates paintings on large canvasses, submitted a piece for the exhibit. A detail of the large painting was captured and reproduced on a pillow.
    “I’m really excited to be a part of this exhibit,” said Eurek. “It’s always intriguing to see your work applied to another medium and see it with a new and different perspective.”
    “It’s always fun & interesting to see images of great artists like Picasso on mugs, calendars, plates, watches, playing cards, and yes, pillows, making fine art images widely accessible souvenirs” says Slafkosky. “So we thought it would be cool to present works of art by great local artists seen in the Kortman Gallery on pillows!”
    “Being retailers,  museum gift shops have always been of particular interest to us…the blending of art & commerce…and has even influenced our buying for our store,” said Jerry Kortman co-owner of J.R. Kortman. “So this exhibit suits our store and gallery concept perfectly.”
    Participating artists include Zoa Ace, Stephen Warde Anderson, Kelvin Candie, Lynn Fischer-Carlson, Molly Carter, Jesus Correa, John Deill, Ingrid Dohm, Drew Eurek, Brian Hierstein, Lisa Jimenez, Carrie Johnson, Etsuko Kobayashi, R. Scott Long, Jenny Mathews, Robin McCauley, Valerie Olafson, Isabella Onrubia, Rebecca Downing Pelley, Louis Recchia, Cherri Rittenhouse, JoanLee Stassi, Joe Tallman, Brett Whitacre, Kyle Wolfe, and Betsy Youngquist.
    Kortman Gallery opening reception for “Pillow Talk: Souvenirs of Art,” a holiday group exhibition is Friday, November 19th 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 exhibit will run though January 8th, 2022. For more information call 815-968-0123.