By Kevin Haas
Rock River Current
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ROCKFORD — Iconic works of art don’t just live inside museums. You can get Mona Lisa on a coffee mug, Starry Night on a throw pillow or American Gothic on a T-shirt.

A downtown art gallery’s latest exhibit puts that concept in action by displaying original works of art alongside its image recreated on throw pillows.

Kortman Gallery’s new holiday group exhibition, called “Pillow Talk: Souvenirs of Art,” opens Friday and runs through Jan. 8. The exhibit features 26 artists from Rockford and around the country.

“A toss pillow makes a great ‘canvas’ for fairly accurately reproducing an image,” Kortman Gallery director Doc Slafkosky said in a news release. “The pillow becomes not only a unique keepsake, but a functional object that can be a cool home accent.”

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The exhibit features both new work created for the show and existing pieces reproduced on pillows.

“I usually work in ceramics,” artist Lynn Fischer-Carlson said in the release. “The invitation inspired me to create a new abstract painting that I thought would look cool on a pillow.”

Rockford artist Drew Eurek typically works on large canvasses and submitted an abstract piece called “Of the Rapture that Impels” for the exhibit.

“I’m really excited to be a part of this exhibit,” he said. “It’s always intriguing to see your work applied to another medium and see it with a new and different perspective.”

Participating artists are: 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 Wolf, and Betsy Youngquist.

“It’s always fun and 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” Slafkosky said. “So we thought it would be cool to present works of art by great local artists seen in the Kortman Gallery on pillows.”

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“Being retailers,  museum gift shops have always been of particular interest to us — the blending of art and 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.”

If you go

What: The opening reception for “Pillow Talk: Souvenirs of Art.”

Where: Kortman Gallery, 107 N. Main St., Rockford

When: 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19

How much: Free

For information: Call 815-968-0123 or visit


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