Rockford artist Brian Lester sees ordinary things and turns them into extraordinary objects of functional art. He will present them in an environment that he has created in an unusual art installation titled Transformations. The exhibit opens from 5:30 to 9 p.m., Friday, June 11 in the Kortman Gallery.
Lester can take the most common thrift store finds and change the way we see and think about them. For instance, a bunch of mens ties become the basis for a chandelier. Ladies earrings are transformed into a colorful and delicate mobile, while old pot lids become a sculptural light fixture.
I am constantly looking at discarded items, such as those found at thrift shops and home improvement stores, and figuring out how to transform them into pieces of art, some with functionality as a bonus. I like to have fun with art and hope that people will enjoy some of the ideas that I have created, says Lester.
Although he seems to possess a natural creative eye, Lester credits a lot of his inspiration has come from art classes he has taken at Rock Valley College. Cherri Rittenhouse, my instructor in a class called Design II, really encouraged and inspired me to apply my ideas to actual materials and make them happen, Lester said.
According to gallery director Doc Slafkosky, Transformations is not a typical art-on-the-wall exhibition. Brian will completely take over the Kortman Gallery and install an environment to showcase his unique objects of art, Slafkosky said. People will be able to not only see his art, but touch it, sit on it, and interact with it as if it were in their home.
The Kortman Gallery is located upstairs at J. R. Kortman Center for Design, 107 N. Main St., the River District, Rockford. For further information, call 815/968-0123 or visit www.jrkortman.com.