Marilyn Cuellar
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Isanti County News, Cambridge, MN

by Elizabeth Slas | January 2013

Art Show Features Local Talent

Two local artists are excited about their work being displayed in Cambridge for the month of February.

An opening reception will be held at the Cambridge Center for the Arts on Friday, Feb. 1, from 4 to 7 p.m. for a new exhibit featuring the works of Marilyn Cuellar and Larry Ostrom.

The show, titled “Two Views: Graphite and Clay” describes the nature of the show, with Cuellar’s graphite drawings and Ostrom’s clay pottery.

Ostrom has been making pottery for 42 years, he said, although his work has evolved over the years. In the 1980s, he spent three years in Japan, where he taught and studied.

“I was exposed to a lot of styles of pottery in Japan,” he said. “There’s Japanese influence in my pottery.”

More than anything, Ostrom said it was his pottery instructor at Bethel University who inspired him to work with clay.

In his sophomore year, he dropped out of school for a year with a friend and they set up a studio in a small barn in Cambridge, where they built their first kiln. They then bought a turkey barn, which they remodeled into two living quarters and a pottery studio and music studio.

Ostrom said they lived in the barn for about 10 years before he moved into Cambridge and set up his studio and gallery at his new home.

Ostrom describes his work as functional pottery.

“I want the form to be strong and any surface decoration to fit well with the form,” he said. “I enjoy the challenge of growing and changing, evolving and trying to come up with my own solutions for problems.”

Graphite artist Cuellar also works out of her studio in Cambridge. In 2012, she was awarded the Best of Show-Drawing at the Uptown Art Fair (Minnesota’s national show) and has received this award three times in the last five years. Overall, 300 juried fine art fairs throughout the Midwest have featured her drawings, including the Minnesota State Fair Fine Art Exhibit, Chicago Botanic Art Festival, Port Clinton Art Festival, Kansas City Plaza Art Fair, Des Moines Art Festival and Madison Art on the Square.

Marilyn Cuellar

Marilyn Cuellar

Marilyn Cuellar won the Best of Show-Drawing award at the Uptown Art Fair (Minnesota's national show) in 2012—receiving this award three times in the last five years.

Marilyn Cuellar

She minored in art at Wisconsin State University-Eau Claire, but it wasn’t until later that she started working more with graphite.

Cuellar entered the Uptown Art Fair for the first time in 1991 and got in her first year, which she said was a surprise. That’s when she started entering juried art shows throughout the Midwest every year.

She said the essence of her work is in the details. Whether a portrait or botanical or architectural image, her work uses the medium’s full range of values to create contrast and texture.

“I like what I can do with black and white,” Cuellar said. She uses only one pencil grade—2B—using pressure to vary shades. “It’s art down to the bare details, using the bare essentials for tools. I can achieve what I want just with the pressure of my hand.”

Cuellar will have originals and prints for sale at the show, which will be on display throughout February at Cambridge Center for the Arts, located at 144 2nd Avenue SE in Cambridge, one block east of Main Street. For more information, visit or call 763-691-9679.

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