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.