“Retrograde” by Summer Wagner is part of the upcoming exhibit, “Photography Reimagined” at Kortman Gallery. (Photo provided by Kortman Gallery)
By Kevin Haas
Rock River Current
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ROCKFORD — A new exhibit coming to Kortman Gallery in downtown takes photography beyond the lens to create ethereal images that offer a unique perspective of the city and the world.

Rockford artists Penny McGuire and Summer Wagner build their work beyond what’s captured in the simple release of the shutter.

“I started experimenting with different settings on my 12-year-old Sony Cybershot to find different ways to record the images I saw,” McGuire said in a news release. “I am drawn to architecture, outdoor art and odd things as they relate to their natural environment and to each other.  Many of my photos are several different photos of the same shot in different modes.”

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The opening reception for the exhibit, called “Photography reimagined,” is 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday at the gallery, 107 N. Main St., Rockford.

Most of McGuire’s images in the show are Rockford-related, including the depictions of The Times Theater and the Coronado Performing Arts Center that resemble the soft brush strokes of a painting. She also has a few eccentric still life’s and artistically enhanced images of historic sites around the Midwest.

“Coronado” by Penny McGuire is part of the upcoming Kortman Gallery exhibit “Photography Reimagined.” (Photo provided by Kortman Gallery)

Wagner returned to Rockford amid the coronavirus pandemic after spending the last decade in Los Angeles.

Her photographs are ethereal fantasy of people in romantic, yet provocative settings.

“My work contemplates the spiritual and psychological threads of everyday life and the blur of poetry that is our society’s collective dreamscape,” Wagner wrote in her artist’s statement.

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Doc Slafkosky, director of the Kortman Gallery, said the two artists were chosen because of the different approaches they bring to photography.

“Not only do Penny and Summer represent different generations, but their artistic vision also represents a different kind of photographic imagery,” he said in a news release. “They both, in some way, reimagine their photographs, but their style and subject matter are so different, that the contrast makes for an engaging and visually entertaining exhibition.”

Know before you go | Photography reimagined

Times Theater by Penny McGuire is part of the upcoming Photography reimagined exhibit debuting Friday, Feb. 10, 2023, at Kortman Gallery in Rockford. (Photo provided by Kortman Gallery)

When: 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10. After the opening reception the exhibit will run through March 31.

Where: Kortman Gallery inside the J.R. Kortman Center for Design, 107 N. Main St., Rockford

Information: 815-968-0123; jrkortman.com

This article is by Kevin Haas. Email him at khaas@rockrivercurrent.com or follow him on Twitter at @KevinMHaas or Instagram @thekevinhaas

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