On November 19th, juror Frank Juárez facilitated a gallery walkthrough at the Rockford Art Museum in Rockford, Illinois. This gallery walkthrough presented the opportunity to learn about his curatorial process, how his personal experience during Covid posed questions about mental health, reflection, simplifying, and giving ourselves the permission to ‘pause’. The afternoon ended with three impromptu artist talks from April Behnke (IL), Renee McGinnis (IL), and Katherine Steichen Rosing (WI). The Rockford Midwestern Biennial runs through January 22, 2023 representing contemporary works from artists spanning 9 Midwestern states.
“How do we cancel the background noise and focus on what we currently need?”– Frank Juárez, 2022 juror
As I write this, I begin to think about the past 2+ years and how our creative lives synchronously changed. I find myself asking, “what motivates us or better yet drives us to continue to create?
There is something magical when we allow ourselves to pause. When we pause we become active participants in the act of reflection, which provides the opportunity to ponder on us, our studio practice, our mental health, and our willingness to persist through ideas, actions, and art. It grants us the time to think about what is working and what is not, prioritize what is important versus what we can let go, and most importantly, provides us with a sense of purpose. We live in a time of reinvention. We live in a time where we are free to experiment without judgement. We live in a time to ask ourselves who we are as artists.
Art is a personal journey driven by discovery, doubt, and artistic pursuit. These selected works, from 635 submissions, for the 2022 Rockford Art Museum Midwestern Biennial were based on the ideas of tranquility, curiosity, and beauty. My hope is that these works encourage you to take a closer look not only on what is on the surface, but to go a bit deeper. Let yourself be mindfully present to connect, to engage, and to wonder.
About the Rockford Midwestern Biennial
Rockford Art Museum proudly presents its 77th Rockford Midwestern Biennial, a juried survey of recent contemporary art in the Midwest. The 2022 Rockford Midwestern is on view October 7, 2022–January 22, 2023 at Rockford Art Museum, at 711 North Main Street, Rockford, Illinois.
Colette Wright Adams, Marcia Babler, April Behnke, Jill Birschbach, Spooky Boobs, Molly Brennan, Paul Burkholder, Amy Cannestra, Gary Cudworth, Sherri Denault, VA. dePintor, Christopher Duran, Drew Eurek, Indira Freitas Johnson, Maureen Fritchen, Richard Gessert, Shelley Gilchrist, Denis Hagen, Samantha Haring, Gayle Hernandez, Kristine Hinrichs, Carol Irving, Joseph Ivacic, Gretchen Jankowski, Mark Keffer, Letha Kelsey, Daniela Kouzov, Ruth Lantz, J Myszka Lewis, Michael Litewski, Linda Marcus, Ashley Martinez, Renee McGinnis, Tom McHale, John Verl McNamara, Maggie Meiners, Katherine Nemanich, Ann Orlowski, Louise Pappageorge, Marilyn Propp, Kimberlee Rocca, Katherine Rosing, Fran Sampson, Edwin Shelton, John Siblik, Jim Spelman, Marissa Voytenko, Joan Webster-Vore, Sara Willadsen, Laura Williams
If you go:
Rockford Midwestern Biennial
Ends January 22, 2023
Rockford Art Museum
711 North Main Street
Rockford, IL 61103
Thurs – Sun, 10am-5pm
Exhibition catalog available onsite