Metal in May: Featured Artist Melody Tudisco

Motivated by experimentation with angles and negative space, Melody Tudisco creates both edgy, bold jewelry from oxidized silver and gold and wall pieces from manipulated and painted copper. “My world is made up of textures and layers,” she states. “As a child in the country, I spent hours looking for and picking up rusty nails on our sandy hilly driveway after a rainstorm. My dad would pay me a penny a nail. Two cents if it were a larger nail, or a piece of wire. I can still see the rusty textured layers; the burnt orange, sienna, and sometimes a hint of blue-green patina. This corroded metal intrigued me and still does.

I am energized by the reaction and the texture that is created on metal when I torture it with heat, pounding, or paint. Metal doesn’t move easily and I love the coaxing of it to give it a tactile life. I become impelled to produce structure and density where there once was smoothness. Of all my tools, my favorites are an old railroad rail and a chewed up copper mallet. When I use these tools they create my personal marks and textures that are individual only to my work."

Left: Joanna, wearing Melody's oxidized silver Multi Chain necklace, with the artist's copper and acrylic wall piece. See more on Melody's work here.


New Work from Deborah Foutch Featured in April

Fiber artist Deborah Foutch attributes her palette and her sense of line, light and space to the landscape of her native Iowa. “The rhythm of seasonal change, the flow of rivers, the roll of land, the grace of trees, and the abounding variety of light are recurring subjects, awakened in childhood,” she notes about her work.

Deborah’s process involves a variety of techniques. Working with fabric, thread, paint and found objects she produces lustrous and delicate topographies of embroidery and appliqué. “I sculpt, sew, paint, ink, tear apart and recombine, tell stories with texture and dimension, using layers to reflect the visual abundance in which we live.”

The Minneapolis artist holds a BA in Art and another in History from University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. She regularly shows her work at galleries in New York and New Mexico and maintains an active exhibition schedule at venues including the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, the American Craft Council Show in St. Paul and the Powderhorn Art Fair in Minneapolis. Her work has earned purchase awards at the Sun Valley Arts and Crafts Festival in Idaho and the Southwest Arts Festival in Albuquerque, NM. The artist relishes working under exhibition deadlines as she feels the discipline keeps her work fresh and her skills sharp.

Deborah's statement about her River Lights series:


All of the pieces I call
River Lights (detail at left) grew out of a summer evening standing on the Ford Parkway Bridge over the Mississippi River. It was one of those summer evenings that you sometimes get but are not guaranteed in our muggy Midwest. It was not hot, not cool, not damp, or dry. The air seemed kind on my skin. I believe it was August because the trees had that reaching to the leaf tip greenness they get at the end of summer. There was a cloudbank on the eastern horizon and I headed to the river to watch the sunset. I parked on the west bank and walked across the bridge to the east bank then went back to the center. I stood facing north watching the light go by, watching the surface of the water. There were greens, blues, grays, and browns that were joined by purple shadows, and pink coppery highlights reflecting the cloudbank absorbing the red light. There were ever changing textures on the surface of the moving water. The bright tips created by air moving one way and the water another danced here then over there, all of it moving, changing, new with every glance from one aspect to another. I stayed watching until the river seemed to consist of variations of murky yet steely grays, blues, and browns. I watched the flow of the river and the ebbing of the light entirely rapt, trying to catch the moment when change happened. But it was just gradual flow. The best I could do was record in my mind’s eye the moment to moment details my attention is capable of, then hope to bank them for when I need to call on them to tell me if the thing I am creating has some visual truth. I have been using that experience for more than a year to create the pieces I call River Lights. Sometimes I can call up a specific story of where and when I noticed my place as an observer and re-interpreter of flowing life and light. And sometimes it’s just part of what's present from watching the world and practicing my craft. I don't recall exactly what moment I'm calling on. I've simply stepped into a stream of the observed and I exercise skills honed to create my version of the world.

Deborah Foutch

As a fiber artist, Deborah studies the effect of light on her assemblages and often plays with a variety of materials and textures. In her recent series of bird drawings, Deborah explores the application of oil pastel to archival paper.
Crow is pictured below.


Featured in March ... metal artist Bob Rickard

During a 30 year career in computer software, Bob Rickard avidly pursued his passion for “puttering out in the garage.” Combining knowledge from an early stint as a theatrical stage designer with an interest in industrial tools, he eventually found that his favorite material was metal. Bob’s process, he states, is to “harness the myriad properties of metals: their rigidity, their pliability, and their essential chemical make-up.” His work ranges from furniture and wall pieces to his distinctive line of KronosWorks clocks.

After using a hand-held plasma cutter to carve his designs into a base metal, most often steel or aluminum, the artist coats each sculpture with other metals, typically copper, bronze and iron. Each of these metals reacts differently to the chemical patinas and dye oxides with which the pieces are finished, creating a rich palette of hues.

Bob attributes the quiet, calm quality of his work to the landscape surrounding his Taos, NM studio.

Pictured above: Country Blues Diptych, 24" x 37"; below: Hill and Dale Diptych, 24" x 37"
Contact the gallery for availability.


Featured Artist for February: Marilyn Cuellar

Marilyn Cuellar, a Cambridge, MN artist, works with graphite to render detailed botanical and architectural studies and well-considered portraits.

Marilyn’s artist statement:

The Details of Life
I find my vision in the details of life. My art brings out the subtle details in its subjects, creating a picture of life more particular than the fleeting glance with which we normally look at the world.

The representational drawings I create are rich in depth and character when viewed from a distance. Viewed more closely, emphasis on details and texture create an abstract inner-life.

I draw with graphite, using a palette of white to black and all of the tonal variations between. This allows me to explore complexity in texture and shape in seemingly simple images. It is the effect of light and the shadows it creates that define my images – not lines.

My artistic touch is the final element in the process. When I view an image and apply the pencil to the board, it is my vision of the image that is brought to life.

When you look closely at my work, mark every detail. That is where the life of my art truly is.

Marilyn's notes on the work:

Ukrainian Women Series - Maria and Inna
Graphite on Archival Board

The faces of these women, Maria and Inna, reflect their strong characters and difficult lives. With the draping of their babushkas and pattern of clothing, a softness is added; and the contrast of complementary textures in the clothing enhances the lines etched in the women’s faces. Both women invite the viewer to pause and engage in conversation, especially Inna (on the right) whose gentle eyes are always seeking out the viewer, at any angle. Both women reside in a rest home in Chigirin, Ukraine.

Slice of Autumn Series #2

Graphite on Archival Board

Using the image of the maple tree framed by our front window, realism and abstraction combine in this view of just a slice of autumn leaves. As the piece can be hung vertically or horizontally, a vertical presentation suggests a “water/flowing” view while a “land/grounded” view is suggested by a horizontal presentation.

Daru Mother and Child

Graphite on Archival Board

This young mother and child (Mariama and Rokey) look at the world from different vantage points. From the Village of Daru, The Gambia, West Africa, Mariama was our daughter’s closest friend while she served in Daru through the Peace Corps. My husband and I visited the village in 125 degree F. weather. When Rokey was born, Mariama gave her the same name as my daughter was given in the village. The delicate features of Mariama’s clothing tie mother and child together. Three elements are at work in this drawing: design, texture, and the life portrayed in the faces of the subjects.

The artist holds a BA from the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, and takes part in a local mentoring group to shape her artistic vision. She exhibits her work at juried shows throughout the Midwest, often winning honors including multiple Best of Show titles.

Works by Marilyn Cuellar are on view at The Grand Hand throughout the month of February.


Our January Featured Artist: Barbara Evan

St. Paul painter Barbara Evan’s works in oil are composed with intuitive line and form and are typically rich with color. The artist holds degrees in English from the University of South Dakota and in Studio Arts from the University of Minnesota. She maintains a studio in the Lowertown neighborhood and is a regular participant in the twice-yearly St. Paul Art Crawl: her images are regularly selected by jury to promote the event. Barbara is a member of the Women’s Art Registry of Minnesota (W.A.R.M).

About her current work, the Barbara states, "Before starting a painting I set myself an elusive problem, like seeing if three unlikely colors can work together, or seeing how many layers I can build up and still see through to the first one, or finding out what a pile of lumpy stone-shapes would look like, or all of these at once. I work in terms of time, watching intently, feeling and seeing the different effects of deliberation and speed. If I hit a dead end I might wipe out large sections, then use what remains as a basis for the next version. Gradually – and sometimes after dozens of layers and wipeouts – it turns into something: it has a certain combination of formal balance and emotional content that reflects an inner, inarticulate part of me. My work is perhaps a kind of inchoate writing."

Some of the paintings on view throughout January at The Grand Hand, along with the artist's notes on the work, include:

Garden (pictured above): I deliberately set out to make something beautiful, which usually means ending up with a mess. That happened this time too, but I kept at it until this painting emerged. I love how a few faint lines (like the barely noticeable pink streaks along the bottom) are terribly important, and some of the bold strokes, which could have ruined the whole thing, fit right in.

Straightened Curly Leaf
is the gradual abstraction of a curly leaf Aralia frond. There are several other versions. One was full of brilliant colors (Bold Curly Leaf). Then I painted over it with beige (Muted Curly Leaf) and, surprisingly, that made it glow. This one is more controlled, hence the name, but it has its own kind of mystery.

Silly Girl
is based on a tiny sketch from several years ago. Stone shapes or perhaps crystals float in the air, with a delicate figure holding things in place. They are stones or heavy clouds, ponderous but suspended in a field of bright, cheerful washes of color. Silly girl is strong enough to not worry about appearing silly.

Untitled started out as a black, gray and white boulder on a solid white background. People who didn’t expect to like it, liked it. It looked heavy and real, even though it wasn’t much more than a line drawing. But it sat there for a couple of years, too tempting to leave alone, so I tried adding paint. After several disasters, a wipeout, and finally several layers of insubstantial circles, it turned into this painting. A black circle sits in the center, against all the rules, right where it belongs.

Entrance was difficult. They are almost always difficult, but this one more so because I was trying to show language emerging from layers of shapes that alluded to letters or symbols. I couldn’t do it. It was becoming a doodle, and doodles don’t count as art. Finally, I just let it be a really intricate doodle that’s also a kind of puzzle or a snarl. It’s kind of a free-form mandala, with simultaneous agitation and stillness. Entrance has two meanings, of course.

Most of Barbara’s paintings have a documented history because she takes photographs along the way. Earlier versions of her works may be available as small booklets or prints.