About the Artist

Audrey Handler
Wisconsin Visual Arts Lifetime Achievement Award
Year inducted: 2014

Audrey Handler is known as one of the pioneers of the "Studio Glass Movement". She started working in glass in 1965 as one of Harvey Littleton's first female glass students. Audrey was a board member of the Glass Art Society, an international organization she helped create in 1971. Her studio, housed in a 19th century cheese factory, began in 1970 and is one of the oldest continually operating glass blowing facilities in the country. She has taught workshops in glass helping to spread the artistic and conceptual idea of glass as a medium of expression for the artist. Her sculptures are in collections and museums around the world. She is currently on the Glass Advisory Board of the Bergstrom Mahler Museum of Glass in Neenah, Wisconsin.

Audrey Handler creates single blown glass forms of fruit, glass platters and vases. She also creates sculptural environments that make a comment on universal experiences usually on domestic themes. These sculptures create a surrealistic time and place. Handler holds a B.F.A. from Boston University School of Fine and Applied Arts and a M.S. and M.F.A. from the University of Wisconsin, Department of Art.

Statements about the Artist

Audrey Handler's mixed-media sculptures feature exquisitely modeled miniature gold and silver human figures combined with full-sized blown glass fruit and table settings, often displayed on handsome inlaid wood tables. These delighful people carry on their daily pursuits unabashed by their contrastingly huge surroundings. This talented artist's sculptural concepts reveal a keen insight and interest in our everyday lives. In fact, she puts real life into "Still-Life".

Paul Vickers Gardner
Curator Emeritus and Former Consultant
Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. 1990

Artist Audrey Handler transforms scenes and objects from daily life into surrealistic theater. The main performers in these theatricals are life-sized glass fruit. In cast silver, Handler adds minutely-scaled figures who act out familiar scenes. These figures are in the same scale and medium as fine jewelry which emphasizes the preciousness of family life. Handler's juxtaposing these insect-sized figures with life-sized fruit injects an air of wit, where people dash about amid giant fruit and tableware. The viewer finds an amusing and elegant surrealistic world reminiscent of the businessmen and fruit found in the paintings of René Magritte.

Bruce W. Pepitch
Director, Charles A. Wustum Museum of Fine Arts
Racine, Wisconsin 1990

By combining pieces of hand-blown fruit, in particular apples and pears, with tiny, hand-cast silver figures, (Audrey Handler) creates bizarre, Lilliputian landscapes that evoke universal human emotions and experiences. ...this universality - combined with a neat sense of humor - is Handler's principal strength. It permits her to invest her work with a cutting satirical edge, to the point where her miniaturized depictions of conventional household scenes and clichéd genderal role models become winning little exercises in small-town surrealism.

James Auer
Art Critic, the Milwaukee Journal
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 1986