Life and art of Jim Julin honored in Kortman Gallery group exhibit

Portrait of Jim Julin by John Lamar.

Staff Report

More than 30 local artists will show works in an exceptional art exhibition that pays homage to the memory of Rockford artist Jim Julin, opening Friday, Oct. 4, in the Kortman Gallery.

The exhibit, titled “Big Man,” presents art connected by materials, stories and relationships each of the artists had with this inspiring and talented artist who passed away in 2012.

According to Matt Herbig, artist and one of the organizers of the exhibit, the show started with an idea to create a collaborative piece with artist Betsy Youngquist to honor Julin, but grew into a major exhibition.

We realized that so many artists who were friends of Jim and influenced by his great talent were inspired to celebrate his life through art,” said Herbig. “We decided to open the exhibition to anyone who wanted to participate and present an informal show at Jim’s house in July. The show was such a success, we hoped to have it travel to an established gallery where the general public could see this fantastic exhibit.”
The “Big Man” show features paintings, sculptures, prints and assemblage art utilizing found objects. Most of Julin’s work involved found materials that he skillfully turned into beautiful works of art. The “Big Chair” sculpture is public art by Julin, which stands outside in front of the Rockford Art Museum.

We are thrilled to have this historic art event open in the Kortman Gallery,” said gallery director Doc Slafkosky. “We can’t think of a finer way to celebrate Jim’s life than through the art of some of Rockford’s most accomplished artists … which we are able to share with the entire community through this group exhibition. Jim was not only big in stature, but had a big heart and grand artistic skill and talent.”

Participating artists include Elisa Ahmer, Melinda Carlson, Steven Coogan, Craig Daymon, Michelle Dorr, Sherrie Dorr, Ramona Felse, Marsha Goodheart, Keith Grace, Shari Grace, Karen Harding, Susan Hasse, Bonnie Holder, Margret Hynes, Hilly Jacklin, Krista Jeanne, Joshua Jones, Chris Julin, Betsy Kaske, Pam Kehoe-Peterson, Jeremy Klonicki, Norm Knott, John Lamar, Marilyn Lamar, Scott Long, John Verl McNamara, Alison and Mark Muraski, Bill Olson, Sarah Reed-McNamara, Douglas Scherrinsky, Ray Schulz, Susan Montague Spear, Dan Whyte, Betsy Youngquist and Jim Julin.

The opening receptions for “Big Man,” a group exhibition inspired by the life and art of Jim Julin, will be from 5 to 10 p.m., Friday, Oct. 4, and 3 to 9 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 5, in the Kortman Gallery upstairs at J.R. Kortman Center for Design, 107 N. Main St. Admission is free. The show is in conjunction with the Fall ArtScene weekend in Rockford. “Big Man” will be on display through Nov. 16. For more information, call (815) 968-0123 or visit

From the Oct. 2-8, 2013, issue

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