Opening Reception: Saturday, July 8 6:00-8:00pm
ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, NJ – “The devastation that Hurricane Sandy brought to coastal communities in fall 2012 was evident in the wooden debris that littered the affected communities. In its aftermath, the once organized communities and lives of the residents were recognizable only as piles of rubble distributed haphazardly during the chaos of the storm.
Clapboard siding, floorboards, cabinets, and window frames, were often all that remained of homes torn apart by the storm’s ferocity. The intimate textures of this wood, with its chipped layers of paint, nail holes and grain, tell a story and suggest another prior life in the faded colors and worn surfaces. The wood was weathered, exposed and open to new possibilities.
It was after the storm that I began collecting the castaway wooden debris of domestic spaces – my non-altered source materials – were remnants evocative of life before the storm. I gathered the wood to preserve it and to prevent its ultimate demise. There is an intimate connection working with wood that survived the storm. I wonder about its former life as a little girl’s dresser or a kitchen cabinet that held cherished china. The salvaged wood holds aesthetic promise, as I transform the material into something new. Each piece found wood was a promise of reinvention to be perceived once again for its beauty and intrinsic value. My hope was to restore some order, meaning and sense of place to the ravaged landscape by creating something with the wood.
My work has always been about creating sculptures and site-specific installations by resurrecting and transforming detritus that I find in my natural surroundings. As an artist, I constantly work to expand my aesthetic perceptions and improve my ability to connect my inner voice with artwork that is resonant of that vision. My goal is to create visual representations that articulate passing through the cycle of order, chaos and restored order. It mirrors the human experience, so full of transformation, second chances, reinvention, and resilience.
I looked to the past for ideas and discovered the inspiration in the American ideal of a pioneer woman’s can-do resilient spirit and instinct for survival. I learned that these women crafted quilts for warmth and comfort with scraps of cloth. These wooden quilts also recall a past heritage of craftsmanship and labor. As both formal, abstract art objects and expressions of feminism, traditional American patchwork quilt are designs I find familiar and comforting. Inspired by the geometry of American quilts whose simplicity belies their conceptual underpinnings, I begin to piece together this salvaged wood into something meaningful and orderly, seeking solace from Hurricane Sandy. By deliberately organizing of the salvaged wood within each piece of artwork to balance the relationship between the materials used with texture, color, pattern and scale, I am exploring ideas that are rooted in the repetition of life — birth, growth, death, and regeneration. “ Laura Petrovich-Cheney
Laura Petrovich-Cheney is the recipient of the 2017 New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowship in Sculpture, AND the 2016 NEA Grant collaboration with Monmouth Arts and Sandy Hook National Park. Samples of her work can be seen at: www.LauraCheney.com
The AHAC is a nonprofit organization who’s mission is to strengthen community through the arts. This program is made possible in part by Monmouth Arts through funding from the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.
This exhibit will be on display July 1 – 16 at Atlantic Highlands Arts Council, 54 First Avenue, Atlantic Highlands, NJ 07716.
Monday – Closed
Wednesday – 1:00-7:00
Thursday – 1:00-4:00
Friday – 1:00-7:00
Saturday – 10:00-7:00
Sunday – 11:00-3:00