by BETSY MOWRY
Located inconspicuously near the far end of Grand Avenue on Cathedral Hill, the cozy, but appreciable Grand Hand Gallery exhibits and sells fine American crafts, and is the only local gallery to do so. Opened in 2004, the Grand Hand is gaining popularity among artists and buyers throughout the cities. On Saturday, Sept. 9, the small space was packed to the brim with arts lovers there to view the works of Minnesota painter Mark Literski and Washington state glass artist Jeremy Newman.
Newman’s graceful elliptical sculptures captivate viewers. Clean shapes and rich earth tone colors distinguish his unique style (imagine the complete opposite of a gaudy Faberge egg). Organic, flowing design elements and color applications subtly flow into each other, twining around the sculptures like roots or dynamic watermarks.
In his artist statement, Newman writes, “I intend for my work to have
a meditative and healing presence. I hope that it helps reconnect people with
the rhythms of the natural world and reminds them of their place within that
natural elements that make up Newman’s approach are emphasized on some
pieces by a particular style of uneven etched vertical lines. The lines have
a primeval effect, looking as though someone was wearily counting days on the
sides of his glassworks. The works themselves draw viewers in, and the lines
add an intentional detail that accentuates the individual and adds to their
beauty without distracting from the sculpture as a whole.
The colors of nature and the rhythm of the seasons in Newman's contemporary
creations in glass are a natural complement to the Midwestern rural and urban
landscapes by Mark Literski.
Oil painter Mark Literski describes his work as “painterly realism.”
It is distinct, and his style is striking. The paintings are colorful without
the muddiness sometimes seen with oil paints. Literski’s heavy paint application
(usually with palette knives) creates a sense of depth, while the colors and
subjects present gorgeous, idyllic scenes quite familiar to Midwesterners.
Although Literski’s subjects are generally simple landscape images, they
are beautifully rendered. One bold example, “Wendy's Farm,” typifies
Literski's thick paint application and mastery of lustrous colors with oils.
“I like the way colors retain their purity with knives when I build up
layers of wet paint,” he says. “I spend a fair amount of time moving
paint around, scraping it off and building up successive layers. The viewer
can usually recognize the subjects in my work, but the buildup of paint itself
and the manner in which it is applied are just as important to the final image
as is the subject.”
The exhibit runs through Oct. 7, and Newman and Literski’s works are more
than worth a visit to the Grand Hand Gallery. The gallery features a variety
of well-crafted media, including clay, wood, glass, metal, fiber and jewelry.
The quality and selection will keep visitors browsing and hopefully buying.
Art lovers will find that the fine work at this gallery is both affordable and
The Grand Hand Gallery is located at 611 Grand Ave., St. Paul, 651-312-1122
or thegrandhand.com. Gallery hours are
Tue.–Sat. 11–5 p.m.