Four Rockford artists featured in unique downtown Freeport exhibit

Staff Report

FREEPORT, Illinois — A unique exhibition in an uncharacteristic space, “Refind: A pop-up exhibition in downtown Freeport” introduces a group of talented individuals who create art from salvaged materials. Saved from obscurity and often the landfill, these materials are not simply repurposed, but are also formed into beautiful, unique works of art. Held in a vacant building at the corners of Main and VanBuren at 28 W. Main St. in downtown Freeport, Illinois, this reclaimed space provides a fitting backdrop for works made by participating Rockford artists Jesus Correa, John Deill, Jeremy Klonicki and Carmen Turner.

The opening reception for Freeport Art Museum members, artists and guests will be from 6 to 9 p.m., Friday, Aug. 22. The exhibition will be open to the public on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., beginning Aug. 23 and running through Nov. 8.

Jesus Correa

Jesus Correa
Jesus Correa

Unintentionally shirking convention, deftly defying any sort of a definitive definition, Jesus Correa weaves in and out of genres and categories. Whether he is knitting a puppet, performing onstage, or quietly, and with a great deal of concentration, inking some odd thing on some random piece of found and painted wood, Correa makes what he makes unmistakably his own. For the past 10 years, Correa has been creating things that hang on the walls in galleries. As of late, his work has taken on a more sculptural form, but his distinct line work, whether it be on a poster or an old wooden mold found in a pile of rubbish, is always there, and always very much notably from Correa’s distinctive hands. Over the past 10 years, Correa has curated two shows, has had work featured in four solo shows, and in countless group shows. His work has been shown in the Kortman Gallery in Rockford, the Rockford Art Museum Annex and the Rockford Art Museum Gallery proper, as well as at various secret warehouse shows, random bars and numerous benefit shows. In addition to the fine art Correa does, he is also a fine illustrator who will have a comic book published this year. He has done illustration work for various bands and other promotional materials under the Ugly Old Lady Productions banner.

John Deill

John Deill, Jeremy Klonicki and Carmen Turner
John Deill, Jeremy Klonicki and Carmen Turner

After studying art at Rock Valley College and Rockford College in the mid-1970s, John Deill co-owned and operated Gallery Dubois in 1980. He joined the Old Post Office Group in 1983 and helped form their co-op gallery, helping to organize group shows in the area until 1995. His work has been featured in many exhibitions and has won numerous awards, including the prestigious Jessica Holt Award from the Rockford Art Museum and a merit award from the 55th annual Quad-State Juried Exhibition at the Quincy Art Center. About the works he has created for the “Refind” show, Deill said: “My work has been involved with found objects, materials and imagery for many years now. The opportunity to be a part of the show ‘Refind’ seemed a good fit. All of the materials I use go through a transformation from their beginnings. A piece of wood may be sanded and refinished, an object may be repainted and/or reassembled to change it from what it was once used for into an object with no purpose in the functional world.”

Jeremy Klonicki and Carmen Turner

Co-owners of MainFraim, a custom framing, lighting and sculpture studio in Rockford, Jeremy Klonicki and Carmen Turner have successfully turned their inspiration into a thriving business catering to a variety of clients looking to add artistic invention to otherwise functional objects.

Klonicki has a passion for things forgotten. He sees his work as a personal journey of deciphering a past obscured by time before transforming its relics into art that pays tribute to man’s ingenuity and attention to detail. Stripping worn machines for their parts, salvaging from old churches or factories, and maintaining a meticulously run shop are just a few of his job descriptions. About this exhibition, Klonicki said: “Refind is an exhibit that is encouraging me to push the envelope of my typical sculptures with experiments in large designs that fit within a ‘pop-up’ temporary space. It’s exciting for me to be amongst some of the best ‘reclaimed’ artists that the area has to offer in this medium that I feel so passionately about.”

For Carmen Turner, when she begins a new piece, she knows it rarely turns out how she first envisioned. “Working with reclaimed materials means constantly evolving through ideas and sketches until the finished product does justice to the many pieces and parts that have come together to make it,” she said.

About the works she is creating for “Refind,” Turner said: “Recently, I have experimented more with knitting and felting wool and painting to soften them even further. Through these mediums, I can take pieces which may have looked very serious and give them a more imaginative feel. There is a uniformity in reclaimed materials that lends itself to being manipulated by my influence. My goal is to make the connection between old and new as seamless as possible.”

The “Refind” exhibit is presented by Freeport Art Museum, 121 N. Harlem Ave., Freeport, Illinois. The museum is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Tuesday-Friday, and noon-5 p.m., Saturday. Tours may be scheduled by calling (815) 235-9755. Admission to the museum is free, although donations are accepted.

From the Aug. 20-26, 2014, issue

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