‘Hearts & Helicopters’ at Kortman

Discarded storm window panes and retro suitcases are the canvases of Chicago artist Brett Whitacre, who paints iconic pop images on objects found in alleys and attics. “Hearts & Helicopters,” an exhibition of Whitacre’s exuberant art works, opens from 5:30 to 9 p.m., Friday, March 16, in the Kortman Gallery in downtown Rockford.

A cluster of Whitacre’s “art suitcases” will also be displayed in the baggage claim area in the terminal at Chicago/Rockford International Airport (RFD).

Whitacre, a native of Belvidere, said he likes combining popular and personal images to give his found objects a second life. “Finding and revivifying these pieces is instantly gratifying, and I want the work itself to be the same way,” said Whitacre.

According to Doc Slafkosky, Kortman Gallery director, Whitacre’s art is refreshing.

Slafkosky said: “Brett takes these familiar retro objects and makes them entertaining and thought-provoking. His painted suitcases are not only fun to see in the gallery, but are a perfect fit for a display at RFD. I think travelers will get a kick out of them.”

Whitacre lives in Chicago and works as a traveling musician(drummer) for The Legendary Shack Shakers. He was an active player in the Rockford music scene during the 1990s.

“Hearts & Helicopters” can be seen in the Kortman Gallery, upstairs at J.R. Kortman Center for Design, 107 N. Main St., downtown Rockford. The exhibit is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday-Saturday. For more information, call 815-968-0123 or visit www.jrkortman.com.

from the issue March 14-20, 2007, issue

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