After her mother passed away, Rockford artist Jeanne Ludeke, while sorting through her belongings, became interested in the cardboard boxes her mother had used to store and preserve things that were important to her. Moved by the imagery of the boxes and the memories they contain, Ludeke saw them as an intriguing subject matter for her exhibition of realist paintings.
This Friday, Ludeke will present these remarkable paintings in a Kortman Gallery exhibit titled “Flashlights & Other Stories.”
“Jeanne’s exquisite paintings at first glance look like beautifully colored abstracts,” says Kortman Gallery director Doc Slafkosky. “But with a closer look you discover they are paintings of the actual aged cardboard boxes that held her mom’s treasured keepsakes. Most unusual, but unforgettable imagery that you just have to see!”
“The history of what each box had once held was recorded with my mom’s script on the lids and sides of the boxes,” Ludeke said. “What she had saved and valued and how it was kept, spoke of her connection to our family and her relationship with the material world. For me, the boxes became a metaphor for the transience of home, family and the impermanence of things.”
Ludeke began her studies in drawing, painting and art history at NIU and the University of Salzburg, Austria, and completed a Masters in drawing at NIU in 1983. She has worked as a commissioned portrait artist and also taught art for many years. Only recently she has returned to her personal work as an artist.
The Kortman Gallery exhibit “Flashlights & Other Stories,” paintings by Jeanne Ludeke opens Friday, 5:30 to 9 p.m. and will be on display through September 30.
Kortman Gallery is located upstairs at J. R. Kortman Center for Design, 107 N. Main St. in Downtown Rockford. The opening reception is free and open to the public.
For more information call 815-968-0123 or visit jrkortman.com.