Golan-Lieberman Contemporary Art Gallery brings high art to Rockford

The Golan-Lieberman Contemporary Art Gallery opening Aug. 10-11 brought Roni Golan’s dream to life. The Israel native has called Rockford home for the last 11 years, exhibiting in local and international shows. His newest gallery sits at 2209 E. State St., in the small strip mall with Poska and the Illinois Decorator Center.

Golan decided to move his gallery to “the bellybutton of Rockford,” as he calls it, after running galleries near CherryVale Mall and 11th Street. His gallery also serves as his studio, with space at the back for Golan to complete his colorful works. His primary focus with the gallery is to bring professional art to Rockford.

Golan said: “I want to raise the bar in style and expectations. Rockford deserves a professional gallery like you see in Chicago.”

One step inside the gallery takes you far beyond the valley and into the international world of high art.

The works in his gallery follow his philosophy. “Everything that is interesting is intriguing,” he explained.

On display are works by Rockford and Chicago-area artists, in addition to works by a California artist. Local artist Salem Barker created woodcarved masterpieces for the show. My personal favorite (by a visiting artist): the half-woman sculpture with incredible detail work done on her hair.

Bar Schacterman brought his clay works from California. One of these darker pieces hinted at shrunken heads, upon first glance.

Ron Starr and Joe Ivacic brought their fragile glass art, in keeping with this year’s unofficial Rockford artistic theme. Some brought vases to mind, others balanced precariously on metal stands.

Golan painted the floor in his gallery gray, and has hand-painted the names of artists on display beneath their works on the floor. This will serve as a kind of guestbook for the gallery, with names added as exhibits change. Golan welcomes local, national and international artists to exhibit in his space. His only requirement: it must be good.

“Every day should look different,” he said.

Golan’s neighborhood will get a new look soon, with the opening of a deli. In a few months, visitors to Golan’s gallery can make a day of interior decorating.

This small strip mall once housed a video store; Golan’s gallery sits where a karate studio once operated.

For a taste of Rockford’s newest cultural center, stop by Golan-Lieberman gallery. Works range in price from around $100 to more than $20,000. The gallery is open during regular business hours, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., “or as long as the sign is on,” when there’s a good chance Golan is in his new studio creating his next unique masterpiece.

from the Aug 15-21, 2007, issue

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