Leslie Arbetman exhibits new works at Kortman Gallery

Staff Report

"The Containment"
"The Containment"

A Rockford artist, teacher and mother of twins, Leslie Arbetman, will show her spirited paintings at the Kortman Gallery starting June 3 in an exhibition titled “My Between Spaces: Raising Babies & Wrangling Adolescents.”

Arbetman, who holds two master’s degrees, is an art educator at Roosevelt High School in Rockford.

Arbetman’s autobiographic exhibit title says a lot about her hectic lifestyle as a teacher and mother, but she considers her artwork “an introspective endeavor.” She loves to paint with wax/oil and encaustic because of its versatility. “I try to push the bounds of what wax is capable of achieving without burning my whole house down,” says Arbetman.

“I have a love of aged and ephemeral materials, decay, and a deep-seated respect for history, which all stems from my formative years digging in my grandmother’s basement of junky wonders off Jerome Street in Chicago,” Arbetman adds.

Kortman Gallery Director Doc Slafkosky says Arbetman’s work is visually engaging, contemporary and edgy.

“Her work is serious, but you can tell that Leslie doesn’t take herself too seriously…this makes her art also very entertaining,” Slafkosky says.

The last line in Arbetman’s artist’s statement reads: “Causality and collateral damage are ideas fundamental to my work; however, art doesn’t have to be so damn serious to be enjoyed by the casual viewer. It’s just art.”

The opening reception for Arbetmen’s Kortman exhibition will be from 5:30 to 9 p.m., Friday, June 3, which is also “First Friday” in downtown Rockford. The gallery is upstairs at J.R. Kortman Center for Design, 107 N. Main St. For more information, call (815) 968-0123 or visit www.jrkortman.com.

From the June 1-7, 2011 issue

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