Two Artists create remarkable, uncommon sculptural works from ordinary wood in Kortman Gallery exhibit, opening ArtScene weekend April 13th & 14th

Drawing inspiration from childhood storybook characters, nature, and spirituality, Brazilian artist Albino Junior creates remarkable miniature sculptures from wooden matchsticks. These striking and magical works, which Junior refers to as “Arte no Palito,” reveal his uncanny and inspired ability to carve these diminutive and unusual artworks.
    Joe Goral Sr. is a Rockford painter and woodworker, whose woodworking focuses on turned pieces using a lathe and scroll sawn typography. The materials for his work come from downed trees and limbs from around Winnebago county, old skateboards, and leftovers from other woodworking projects.
    Both artists share a unique, creative relationship with wood, and combined with their emotional and spiritual connections to the subject matter, blur the lines between craft and art in an exhibition titled “Into the Wood,” opening ArtScene weekend (April 13-14) in the Kortman Gallery.
    Albino Geovane Vasconcelos Junior, of Sao Paulo, Brazil, believes he has a gift with his unique artistic ability.
    “I have been developing my gift since I was 14 years-old when I suddenly got a match, some paints and glue and made my first sculpture: a small Christ on the Cross,” said Junior. Many people see matches as something disposable that you use only once and then it loses its functionality. I see sculptures using matches, mixing colors, stories and emotions in a few centimeters!”
    “While these sculptures have the peculiar characteristic of being miniature, there is also an incredible variety of detail that amazes and moves a lot of people,” says Kortman Gallery director Doc Slafkosky.
    Joe Goral, Sr. found inspiration from his father about a decade ago.
    “My dad was a huge influence in my initial interest in woodworking. He started building furniture and would suggest types of woodworking that might interest me. Eventually I took a jigsaw and stumbled my way through cutting out a large "J" for my son, Joey Jr. I showed it to him and he suggested I buy a scroll saw,” said Goral.
    “Within a few months, I had made and sold enough work to upgrade to a really nice saw. I cut up everything from old skateboards to very expensive pieces of wood into intricate cursive words. It was and still is a lot of fun.”
    “Into the Wood” featuring sculptural art works by Albino Junior and Joe Goral, Sr. opens Spring ArtScene, Friday, April 13th from 5:00 to 9pm and Saturday, April 14th, 4 to 9pm and will be on display through May 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.