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One oil painter and one potter will be the newest additions to the third annual Underground Art Show in Cambridge, bringing a total of five artists to the show.
Ken Ekvall, of East Bethel; Nathan Hager, of Isanti; and Marilyn Cuellar, of Cambridge, will be returning artists this year to the show. Sue Redfield, of Cambridge, is a new artist this year who will display her ceramic pieces, and Andrew Sjodin, of Isanti, is also a new artist who will display his oil paintings.
The public is welcome to attend this free community event that will be held in the Leader Foundation Room (in the lower level of the restaurant), 135 Main St. S., Cambridge.
“This year we’ve added two more artists. We wanted a fuller venue for people coming in to see art,” Cuellar said. “We have pottery, wood turning, I have the black and white pencil art, and there are two oil painters, each with a different genre.”
The gallery opens at noon on Saturday, Sept. 18, with a grand opening reception 4-7 p.m. where attendees can meet the artists and enjoy wine and hors d’oeuvres.
Aside from opening day, the gallery will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept 19; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 20, and Tuesday, Sept. 21; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 22. Each day during open hours, one of the artists will be at the gallery.
With more artists joining the gallery this year, Cuellar hopes it attracts more people throughout the community.
“To build up an audience — that’s what I think I’m hoping for most,” Cuellar said. “To reach more people in the communities around Isanti and Cambridge. You don’t have to go to the cities, you don’t have to leave the area to find high quality art. I think that’s my main focus.”
Cuellar feels fortunate the Leader invites her and other artists to host their gallery in their event space.
“It’s a debt of gratitude for Grant (Johnson) at the Leader to support the arts, let us be in the restaurant,” Cuellar said. “The best scenario is someone comes and looks at the artwork, goes upstairs, orders a meal, and then talks it over and then comes down and purchases the art. Where we are right now really fits that.”
Leader owner Grant Johnson wants to support the show as much as the artists want to support his business. He wants to reach and support more businesses in the community as well.
“We love to celebrate the arts and support local artists. We love that we can provide a space where these amazing works of art can be viewed,” Johnson said. “We expect a great turnout and that the attendees will visit our store and restaurant as well as other downtown businesses.”
With restrictions changing in 2021, Johnson can picture an idea of what this year has in store.
“We had good success in 2020 despite the limitations, pandemic, and knew right away that 2021 would see a great turnout,” Johnson said.
Oil painter Andrew Sjodin
Sjodin looks forward to being a part of the gallery, as it’s closer than other
locations he has showcased his work.
“I have never shown work in my own neighborhood before. I live in Isanti,” Sjodin said. “Usually I show work in the Twin Cities and the greater metro area, and also, recently, in other parts of the country. I am looking forward to showing work in my own community.”
Sjodin creates more than just oil paintings. Although it’s his main focus, he will be bringing multiple pieces.
“I am a representational painter and draftsman working primarily in oil, but also in charcoal, graphite, and occasionally watercolor,” Sjodin said. “I will be featuring a variety of paintings and possibly some drawings.”
Potter Sue Redfield
Redfield creates ceramics and functional pottery. She has been surrounded by art her entire life and is continuing to include it.
“I have been involved in the arts my whole life. I’ve been an art educator 36 years. After developing a ceramic art program at the high school level, I decided to retire early from teaching full time and begin my quest to develop my studio and build a wood fire kiln to create ceramic art,” Redfield said. “I’ve been seriously working in my studio about five years now.”
Redfield has a great deal of inspiration for creating art.
“The pottery I create reflects the textures and colors of nature. I love the outdoors and I love to work in the many gardens around my home. I choose to fire my pots in a wood fire kiln because of the process and the unique quality wood fire gives to the surface of each piece,” Redfield said. “I like it that no two pots coming out of a wood fire kiln can be the same. Each one is a work of art and uniquely different, I like that about wood firing. I want my pots to bring a little joy to the person holding one of my cups or mugs or eating out of a bowl, or serving from a tray. Each piece is made for that one special person who sees something in it that will bring them peace and joy.”
Being a new artist this year, Redfield has similar goals as the other attending artists.
“I’m looking forward to meeting people in the community and surrounding communities coming to take a peek at art and support the arts in our community,” Redfield said.
Redfield will be bringing pieces she’s created over the past year.
“I will be bringing some of my recent wood-fired functional pottery, fired this past year, to the show,” Redfield said. “An array of mugs, sipping cups, assorted sized bowls, small pitchers that are functional for your favorite syrups, gravies or sauces, and small- to medium-sized platters to place your favorite foods on, candles, soaps or whatever you would like to use them for.”
Graphite artist Marilyn Cuellar
Cuellar has been in many art fairs and won the Best of Show award in Drawing at the Uptown Art Fair in Minneapolis. Cuellar appreciates her projects that she worked hard on and loves seeing the final product.
“The best part of all of it is to have the finished piece and have your eyes flow over it, maybe be tricked by it where I hide something or bring it out but where the whole piece flows together,” Cuellar said.
Cuellar will be bringing her graphite drawings that have inspired her from home and from her travels to Venice, Italy.
“I have my black and white graphite drawings, and there are new pieces from last year. It’s from Venice, it’s the statues of four horses that are in St. Marks. In 2019 my husband and I were in St. Marks. My husband took some photos and that’s what I drew from. Another new one from home, the maple tree out my front window is a source of inspiration all the time. That’s another new piece,” Cuellar said.
Wood turner Ken Ekvall
Ekvall is a local segmented wood turner who will be returning this year and has over a decade of experience.
“I have always enjoyed woodworking and purchased a wood lathe after retirement and have been turning for over 10 years,” Ekvall said.
Ekvall was an artist at last year’s Underground Art Show and will be returning this year with a few new pieces.
“New this year will be some simple, yet elegant candy bowls that will make great gifts,” Ekvall said.
Ekvall looks forward to a bigger audience to visit the gallery.
“More people out and about this year that will hopefully stop to visit,” Ekvall said.
Oil painter Nathan Hager
Returning artist Hager is excited to show the community what art means and how they can appreciate one-of-a-kind pieces.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to have a local show. I’d like to encourage people to stop in at the show even if you don’t consider yourself an ‘art’ person,” Hager said. “We really have some great work from some very accomplished local artists. Original art is something special, and I think once people realize that many of these paintings and drawings are one of a kind, there are no prints made, and that these artists are from their community, they will have a real appreciation for it.”
Hager is an artist that has a great deal of experience.
“I guess it’s coming up on 25 years now. Crazy to say! It took me a good 5-10 years to hit my stride, though, and really find the type of painter I’d like to strive to be five years now,” Hager said.
Hager will be bringing 12-15 framed paintings.