Beloit Art Center is pleased to present the Ribordy Family Art Exhibition in February. Patriarch and blacksmith Jim Ribordy will be exhibiting alongside his daughters Jo Ribordy-Christofferson and Amy Ribordy Reese, as well as granddaughter Bailey Reese, grandson Zach Hubner-Schorsch, and grandson-in-law Phillip Schorsch. Both the Main and Bell galleries will feature the work of this talented and artistic family. A First Friday gallery reception will be held February 4, from 5 – 7 p.m. A gallery talk with the artists will be begin at 6pm.
Jim Ribordy (Patriarch of the Ribordy Clan)
Jim Ribordy has been a blacksmith for 30 years. He made it his second career after the company he created was sold in 2007. Jim, an engineer in his prior life, was the founder of RD Systems, a company that designed and built automatic assembly machines for the battery and pharmaceutical industries. After 35 years of creating machinery, he decided to start creating art in his blacksmith shop. He now spends his time blacksmithing and helping others learn the art. He has recently stepped down as president of UMBA (Upper Mid-West Blacksmith Assoc) after serving as the group’s leader for over 20 years. Each Thursday he opens his blacksmith shop to anyone interested in learning the art or just wanting to see how the work is done. Jim feels that “blacksmithing is about beating a piece of metal until it conforms to your wishes. The wonderful part is that there are as many wishes as there are blacksmiths. If the joy of creating something is art, then I am an artist.”
Jo Ribordy-Christofferson (daughter of Jim Ribordy)
Nature and Landscape Photographer, Jo Ribordy-Christofferson, started studying photography five years ago. She enjoys anything that involves being active out of doors, so photography offers her a great opportunity to be creative and be outside. She is a recent graduate of the New York Institute of Photography. Prior to her retirement from teaching at Blackhawk Technical College at the end of 2020, Jo worked in the family business as president of RD Systems until the company was sold in 2007. She lives in Clinton with her husband Scott and has two children adopted from South Korea. Her youngest child Adam is a senior at Clinton High School this year and Jo plans to travel and take photographs of many landscapes after his graduation this spring. Scott is a great travel assistant! Jo is active at the Beloit Art Center acting as treasurer, photography instructor, and photo club mentor.
Amy Ribordy Reese (daughter of Jim Ribordy)
Amy Ribordy Reese, inspired by Sister Doris Klein at Beloit Catholic High School, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Fine Art from St. Norbert College, De Pere, WI. After a semester aboard in Florence, Italy, a five-year stint traveling and working in the Scuba Industry (where she met her husband, Jeff) Amy and Jeff returned to Wisconsin. She and Jeff now have two grown children, Bailey and Ben. Throughout Amy’s life, most of her creative energy has been channeled into her family, floral design as the owner of Rindfleisch Flowers for 15 years and seasonal decoration at Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church. Her book, Illustrated Psalms of Praise, was published in 2006 by Liturgy Training Publications in Chicago, IL. Now retired, Amy is attempting to make the leap from color pencil/watercolor illustration to working in encaustic mixed media (painting with hot wax).
Bailey Reese (daughter of Amy Ribordy Reese)
Bailey Reese is a self-taught mixed media artist and equestrian, specializing in equine fine art focused on the American Quarter Horse. Bailey’s work has been featured in numerous galleries and juried shows including the prestigious America’s Horse in Art Exhibit held each year at the Quarter Horse Hall of Fame Museum in Amarillo, TX. Recently transitioning into bronze casting after working for many years in two-dimensional traditional painting and digital art, Bailey currently resides in Florida with her husband, Matt, newborn son, Conrad, her Quarter Horses, Ellie and Allie, her dogs, Marla, Jules, Norman and Umbrella Cockatoo, Bahia.
Zach Hubner-Schorsch (grandson of Jim Ribordy)
Zach Hubner-Schorsch, a Clinton, Wisconsin native, has been interested in photography since he was a child and received his first digital camera for his 12th birthday. Today he travels with his husband, Philip, to a variety of foreign lands taking photos and sketching everything they see. Zach is a self-taught artist and often finds inspiration for his travels while looking at beautiful photos on Instagram. He will sometimes spend hours at a location that he’d only seen in pictures trying to capture the perfect shot to represent the completion of his URL to IRL journey. Recently, he has started to work in film, capturing and developing images, using the same Canon AE1 camera that both his Aunt Amy and Grandfather Jim used in their younger years. Zach often finds himself turning to art for therapy. The construction of physical pieces often helps him find understanding of his otherwise abstract feelings and thoughts. He has created two collections for the family show.
His first collection, “Hurt”, include art pieces he has made to help himself come to terms with significantly difficult times in his past. In this series you’ll notice that a few works are blurred and replaced with reflective words. Zach feels that these photos are too personal or potentially too specific in nature to be publicly displayed without alteration. The true intension of these pieces is not meant to be hurtful to others, but rather healing for himself.
His second collection entitled “Healing” are photos that place less emphasis on the construction, but rather are an attempt to capture the feeling and energy of the time and location they were taken. Each title conveys the specific feeling that was overwhelming when they were snapped. Zach feels that these moments were healing and empowering and balanced out the feelings and emotions of his “Hurt” collection.
In addition to his photography, Zach has developed an interest in creating art through acrylic pouring. He has included one acrylic pour style painting abstractly representing the classic “Yin & Yang” symbol. This piece was important to include because it represents the balance between Hurt and Healing.
Philip Schorsch (husband of Zach Hubner-Schorsch)
Philip Schorsch has always been an artist. He started sketching in the margins of his notebooks in grade school and has found art to be the best way to express his feelings and emotions. Having earned his doctorate degree in Pharmacy, his education provided him with many years of doodling during countless lectures. Philip is inspired by intricate details and how technology and identity influence art. Ever since picking up an iPad Pro and Apple pencil, he has been fascinated with the new opportunities that digital art is bringing to his whimsical and abstract visions.
His main series is an exploration in the way digital artwork can be presented in physical spaces. He views the QR codes as digital age hieroglyphs that, with the right tools and some patience, can be translated to reveal a complex image. The codes are unsaturated and utilitarian but also delicately handcrafted. This is contrasted with their lively digital counterparts. Are these digital pieces made more valid through their physical representation? What is the future of a purely digital medium?
MAIN GALLERY | POINTS OF VIEW
A Group Exhibit by:
JILL RAE MARTIN-GOLDEN
Why do I make art? Especially now, in this era of uncertainty and mayhem, I value the opportunity to slow down and pay closer attention. It’s important to remember, to preserve, to appreciate and celebrate the everyday. The “everyday” is not so ordinary! The things we make with our hands are precious. The scale is human, in a world where more and more we are overcome with brutality and mayhem.
I paint to say, “Look. I love color, shape, light. I love stories and dreams. I’m trying to make it visible, to share it with you.” I want you too to say, “I see!”, even if at first you didn’t.
Pigment, paper, fabric, glass - born of earth and crafted by hand and heart into images and objects that share a vision or evoke an emotion or response. The sharing is the essence of the image or object. Communication. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Creating my art in the various media I use is as much a part of me as breathing. My inspiration comes from the small, even insignificant, things that surround us in everyday life. I earned my B.F.A. and M.A. degrees in painting from Northern Illinois University. My work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and is included in private and corporate collections in the United States, Sweden, France, Luxembourg, Germany and Great Britain. My paintings were selected for the American Embassy Residences in Rangoon, Burma and Niger, Africa, under the Art in Embassies program initiated by President John F. Kennedy. I am listed in Who's Who in American Art, Who’s Who in America and co-authored the book, "Now What? This Art Business.” My work is included in the books, “The Best of Silk Painting,” and “The Fine Art of Painting on Silk” and was published in Artists Magazine and Beadwork magazine. I am represented by Abel Contemporary Gallery, Stoughton, WI, Jill Rae Finally Art, Rockton, IL and 317 Art Collective, Rockford, IL, and am a member of several artists' organizations including Rockford Art Guild. Beloit Art Center, TNPS, WAOW, TWSA, NWS and SPIN.
JILL RAE MARTIN-GOLDEN
Jill Rae Martin-Golden is the owner of JR Finally Art Studio & Gallery which is located in a historic building in downtown Rockton. It is the accumulation of many years of studying art and wishing to devote more time to the work that she loves. It is there you’ll find her working alcohol inks, watercolors, oils and pastels along with the works of other local artists. Jill sees beauty in the ordinary and revels in sharing that vision with others.
Color – bright and bold; subtle and quiet. Line – connecting and moving. Together creating images to share my vision, my world where gardening is a form of painting and traveling is a scenic view of oneself.
For several years I have done nostalgic realism. I love old toys and old photographs and usually use one or the other in my work.
Toys are a fabulous challenge for me, they need to be rendered correctly to convey the thoughtfulness the toymaker showed in developing them. It is a time for me to go back and revisit old friends, to see their scuff marks, their missing pieces, the grime from play of small hands. They are rendered with minimal backgrounds because the negative space serves as the quiet area. Without a traditional backdrop, the viewer can focus on the image itself and can transport himself or herself into that imaginative childhood space where toys can talk and walk and have adventures.
I also like to change the sizes of toys. Tiny becomes big and regular becomes small or supersized. It could be said that that isn’t realistic. But it is fun to do. Who can tell the child in me that a toy in a different size wouldn’t still satisfy the urge for play?
I work with bright colors to not only move the viewer's eye around the piece but also to let my artwork command the attention of the room it is in. I use optical interference for backgrounds or clouds of an unusual nature. I love using complementary colors next to each other to provide a high contrast and make those colors appear more vivid. My ideal painting is one that is colorful, frenetic and offbeat.
BELL GALLERY | WOODY OLSEN
Woody Olsen Artist
Merwood “Woody” Olsen was born in Beloit, raised in Sharon and graduated from Big Foot High School, Walworth, Wisconsin.
Currently residing in Madison, Wisconsin, he is a member of Association of Wisconsin Artists. He finds inspiration close to home in the natural beauty of Wisconsin.
His grandmother was a talented artist who studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Chicago around the turn of the last century. She left a legacy of numerous prized oil paintings of tranquil scenes of life at Wisconsin lakes and streams from a bygone era. She was also a sought after speaker on art history.
He lived in Chicago for over 40 years and was a member of the prestigious Arts Club of Chicago. He curated shows for a Pop/Outsider art gallery. In Chicago, he resided in Mies van der Rohe’s famous modernist Esplanade apartments on Lake Shore Drive. He recently retired from Northwestern Medicine Health Information, Chicago.
He’s had the opportunity to meet many of the most eminent artists of the 20th and 21th century. Discussing art with some of the world’s greatest artists is a special honor and privilege. He’s learned so much discussing art with the likes of Claes Oldenburg, David Hockney, Andy Warhol, Paloma Picasso, George Segal, Robert Mapplethorpe, Mya Lin, to name just a few.
Another major influence is travel focused on art. In Europe, he had the opportunity to visit London’s Tate Modern, the Vatican Museum, the Louvre and Picasso Museum in Paris. In the States, he credits visits to the many art museums of New York City, along with The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Houston’s Rothko Chapel and the Art Institute of Chicago, among many major museums visited.
In the 70s, when New York was the center of the art world and every artist had to be in New York, he spent many nights at the Hotel Chelsea in Manhattan. For years, many well-known artists stayed at the Chelsea and paid with art when they didn’t have cash to pay the bill. Famously, Larry Rivers left behind A Dutch Master that graced the lobby, along with many other pieces by other artists.
He studied at two top professional art schools, the Layton School of Art in Milwaukee and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD). At the time, Layton was ranked among the top five art schools in the country. He studied with Wisconsin watercolorist, the late Anne Miotke of Whitefish Bay at Layton. Unfortunately, the school closed. With the closing of Layton, he transferred to the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and graduated from MCAD with a BFA.
Prior to Layton and MCAD, he attended UW-Whitewater studying art history, studio arts, etching and printmaking. He studied with talented professor, artist Leanne Stevenson, a School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) graduate. She was very influential training him in art presentation and exposing him to Chicago’s Hairy Who artists.
Woody works primarily in watercolor incorporating acrylic washes. He’s a colorist using splashes of overlapping, floating colors of different shapes and sizes in an informal balance on a polymer-based paper. The work is minimalist, usually not overworked. A focal point draws the eye to the center of interest.
As an art collector himself, he finds inspiration in the work of other artists. From his personal collection, he has a promised estate gift of several pieces of art to the University of Minnesota's Weisman Art Museum including two self-portraits from his Layton years.